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Irrlichter (1837) Op. 62-1 no.6


Irrlichter, die Knaben,
Die laufen und traben,
Mit Luft sich beschuhend,
Nichtsnutziges thuend,
Besprechen sich gerne
Beim Schein der Laterne.
Was hast du gethan?
O sage mir an.
Es sah mit dem Rumpfe
Ein Frosch aus dem Sumpfe;
Das hat mich verdrossen,
Ich brannt ihm zum Possen
Die Schnauze mit Feuer,
Er quakt' ungeheuer.
So sage mir nun,
Was war denn dein Thun?
Ein Hirsch kam mit Zacken,
Ich setzt auf den Nacken
Mich zwischen die Hörner,
Da fuhr er durch Dörner
Mit Schnauben und Rasen;
Ich fiel auf die Nasen.
Nun sage du schnell,
Was tat'st du, Gesell?
Es trugen die Winde
Mich gar zu geschwinde;
Eh' ich mich's versehen,
Ein Dorf sah ich stehen;
Da bellten die Hunde,
Da wich ich zur Stunde.
Nun du, zu gut Nacht,
Was hast du gemacht?
Ein Wandrer, der Wege
Nicht kannte noch Stege,
Ersah mich zum Leuchter,
Mir nach immer keucht' er,
Da löscht' ich die Funken,
Da war er versunken.
Und aus ist das Wort,
Dann hüpfen sie fort.


Will-o’-the-wisps, the knaves
Who hurry and scurry,
Shod in shoes made of air
And up to no good,
Like to confer
By lantern-light.
What have you been doing?
O tell me.
A frog with its torso
Peered out of the swamp;
That annoyed me,
So I singed his snout
For fun with fire,
He croaked most horribly.
Now tell me
What you have been doing?
A stag with antlers passed by,
I sat on his neck
Between his horns,
Then he bolted through brambles,
Snorting and raging;
I fell on my face.
Tell me quickly
What you did, my friend?
The winds carried me
Much too fast;
Before I knew it
I saw a village;
The dogs were barking,
I vanished in a trice.
You now, to round off the night,
What have you been doing?
A traveller, not knowing
Highways or byways,
Took me for a light,
Kept panting after me –
So I snuffed the candle
And he was sunk.
And there’s no more to say,
So they hop away.

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Johann Carl Gottfried Loewe (G30 November 1796 – 20 April 1869),was a German composer, tenor singer and conductor. He wrote over 400 ballads and songs.

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Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.

Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816–1817, he worked on the editorial staff of the Morgenblatt at Stuttgart. Nearly the whole of the year 1818 he spent in Rome, and afterwards he lived for several years at Coburg (1820–1826). Rückert married Luise Wiethaus-Fischer there in 1821. He was appointed a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Erlangen in 1826, and, in 1841, he was called to a similar position in Berlin, where he was also made a privy councillor. In 1849 he resigned his professorship at Berlin, and went to live full-time in his Gut (estate) at Neuses (now a part of Coburg).

When Rückert began his literary career, Germany was engaged in her life-and-death struggle with Napoleon; and in his first volume, Deutsche Gedichte (German Poems), published in 1814 under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar, he gave, particularly in the powerful Geharnischte Sonette (Sonnets in Arms/Harsh Words), vigorous expression to the prevailing sentiment of his countrymen. During 1815 to 1818 appeared Napoleon, eine politische Komödie in drei Stücken (Napoleon, a Political Comedy in Three Parts) of which only two parts were published; and in 1817 Der Kranz der Zeit (The Wreath of Time).

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