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Der Wanderer in der Sägemühle (1832)

Der Wanderer in der Sägemühle

Dort unten in der Mühle
Saß ich in guter Ruh
Und sah dem Räderspiele
Und sah dem Wasser zu.
Sah zu der blanken Säge,
Es war mir wie ein Traum,
Die bahnte lange Wege
In einen Tannenbaum.
Die Tanne war mir lebend,
In Trauermelodie,
Durch alle Fasern bebend
Sang diese Worte sie:
Du trittst zur rechten Stunde,
O Wanderer, hier ein,
Du bist’s, für den die Wunde
Mir dringt ins Herz hinein.
Du bist’s, für den wird werden,
Wenn kurz gewandert du,
Dies Holz im Schoß der Erden,
Ein Schrein zur langen Ruh.
Vier Bretter sah ich fallen,
Mir ward um’s Herze schwer,
Ein Wörtlein wollt’ ich lallen,
Da ging das Rad nicht mehr.

The wayfarer in the sawmill

Down there in the mill
I was sitting at my ease
Looking at the wheels go round,
Looking at the water.
I looked at the gleaming saw –
I thought it was a dream –
Which was cutting deep
Into a fir tree.
The fir seemed almost alive,
Singing its sad lament;
Quivering in every fibre,
It sang these words:
You have come, O wayfarer,
At the right moment,
You are the one for whom
I bear this wound in my heart!
You are the one for whom,
When your short journey is over,
This wood will serve as a shrine
For your long rest in the earth’s womb.
I saw four planks falling,
My heart grew heavy,
I was about to speak a word –
But the wheel had stopped turning.
Translations by Richard Stokes © author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

Clara Schumann, née Clara Josephine Wieck, was a German musician and composer, consider by many to be one of the most disguished composers of the Romantic era. She composed a large body of work, including various piano concertos, chamber works, and choral pieces. She was married to Robert Schumann, and maintained a close relationship with Johannes Brahms.

 

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Poet

Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner was a German poet, practicing physician, and medical writer.

He was born at Ludwigsburg in Württemberg. After attending the classical schools of Ludwigsburg and Maulbronn, he was apprenticed in a cloth factory, but, in 1804, owing to the good services of Professor Karl Philipp Conz, was able to enter the University of Tübingen. He studied medicine but also had time for literary pursuits in the company of Ludwig Uhland, Gustav Schwab and others. He took his doctor's degree in 1808, spent some time travelling, and then settled as a practising physician in Wildbad.

Here he completed his Reiseschatten von dem Schattenspieler Luchs (1811), in which his own experiences are described with caustic humour. He next collaborated with Uhland and Schwab in the Poetischer Almanach for 1812, which was followed by the Deutscher Dichterwald (1813), and in these some of Kerner's best poems were published. In 1815 he obtained the official appointment of district medical officer (Oberamtsarzt) in Gaildorf, and in 1818 was transferred to Weinsberg, where he spent the rest of his life.

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