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Ballade vom Haideknaben (1853) Op. 122 no.1


Part of a series or song cycle:

Zwei Balladen, declamations (Op. 122)


Ballade vom Haideknaben

Der Knabe träumt, man schickte ihn fort
Mit dreißig Thalern zum Haideort,
Er ward drum erschlagen am Wege
Und war doch nicht langsam und träge.
Noch liegt er im Angstschweiß, da rüttelt ihn
Sein Meister und heißt ihn, sich anzuziehn
Und legt ihm das Geld auf die Decke
Und fragt ihn, warum er erschrecke.
„Ach Meister, ach Meister, sie schlagen mich tot,
Die Sonne, sie ist ja wie Blut so rot!“
„Sie ist es für dich nicht alleine,
Drum schnell, sonst mach’ ich dir Beine!“
„Ach Meister, mein Meister, so sprachst du schon,
Das war das Gesicht, der Blick, der Ton,
Gleich greifst du“—zum Stock, will er sagen,
Er sagt’s nicht, er wird schon geschlagen.
„Ach Meister, mein Meister, ich geh, ich geh,
Bring’ meiner Mutter das letzte Ade!
Und sucht sie nach allen vier Winden,
Am Weidenbaum bin ich zu finden!“
Hinaus aus der Stadt! Und da dehnt sie sich,
Die Haide, nebelnd, gespenstiglich,
Die Winde darüber sausend,
„Ach, wär’ hier ein Schritt, wie tausend!“
Und alles so still, und alles so stumm,
Man sieht sich umsonst nach Lebendigem um,
Nur hungrige Vögel schießen
Aus Wolken, um Würmer zu spießen.
Er kommt ans einsame Hirtenhaus,
Der alte Hirt schaut eben heraus,
Des Knaben Angst ist gestiegen,
Am Wege bleibt er noch liegen.
„Ach Hirte, du bist ja von frommer Art,
Vier gute Groschen hab’ ich erspart,
Gib deinen Knecht mir zur Seite,
Daß er zum Dorf mich begleite!
Ich will sie ihm geben, er trinke dafür
Am nächsten Sonntag ein gutes Bier,
Dies Geld hier, ich trag’ es mit Beben,
Man nahm mir im Traum drum das Leben!“
Der Hirt, der winkte dem langen Knecht,
Er schnitt sich eben den Stecken zurecht,
Jetzt trat er hervor—wie graute
Dem Knaben, als er ihn schaute!
„Ach Meister Hirte, ach nein, ach nein,
Es ist doch besser, ich geh’ allein!”
Der Lange spricht grinsend zum Alten:
Er will die vier Groschen behalten.
„Da sind die vier Groschen!“ Er wirft sie hin
Und eilt hinweg mit verstörtem Sinn.
Schon kann er die Weide erblicken,
Da klopft ihn der Knecht in den Rücken.
„Du hältst es nicht aus, du gehst zu geschwind,
Ei, Eile mit Weile, du bist ja noch Kind,
Auch muß das Geld dich beschweren,
Wer kann dir das Ausruhn verwehren!
Komm, setz’ dich unter den Weidenbaum
Und dort erzähl’ mir den häßlichen Traum,
Ich träumte—Gott soll mich verdammen,
Trifft’s nicht mit deinem zusammen!“
Er faßt den Knaben wohl bei der Hand,
Der leistet auch nimmermehr Widerstand,
Die Blätter flüstern so schaurig,
Das Wässerlein rieselt so traurig!
Nun sprich, du träumtest—„Es kam ein Mann—“
War ich das? Sieh mich doch näher an,
Ich denke, du hast mich gesehen!
Nun weiter wie ist es geschehen?
„Er zog ein Messer!“—War das, wie dies?—
„Ach ja, ach ja!“—Er zog’s?—„Und stieß—“
Er stieß dir’s wohl so durch die Kehle?
Was hilft es auch, daß ich dich quäle!
Und fragt ihr, wie’s weiter gekommen sei?
So fragt zwei Vögel, sie saßen dabei,
Der Rabe verweilte gar heiter,
Die Taube konnte nicht weiter!
Der Rabe erzählt, was der Böse noch tat,
Und auch, wie’s der Henker gerochen hat,
Die Taube erzählt, wie der Knabe
Geweint und gebetet habe.

Ballad of a moorland boy

The boy dreamt he was being sent
To the moorland village with thirty crowns,
For which on the way he was being slain,
Though he was neither idle nor slow.
Still sweating with fear, he was shaken
By his master, who told him to get dressed
And placed the money on his blanket
And asked him why he was terrified.
‘Ah master, ah master, they’ll beat me to death,
See how the sun shines red like blood!’
‘The sun does not shine for you alone,
Get moving or I shall give you what for!’
‘Ah master, my master, that’s how you spoke in my dream,
Your face was the same, your look, your voice,
And soon you’ll grab’—your stick, he meant to say,
Says nothing, though, since the blows were falling.
‘Ah master, my master, I’m going, I’m going,
Bid my mother a final farewell!
And when she looks for me everywhere,
She’ll find me by the willow tree.’
He leaves the town! In front of him the moor
Stretches, misty and phantom-like,
With the winds whistling above it,
‘Ah, for a pair of hundred-league boots!’
And all is so silent, and all is so still,
You’d look in vain for a living creature,
Only ravenous birds swoop down
From clouds in order to peck the worms.
He reaches the lonely shepherd’s hut,
The old shepherd is just looking out,
The boy’s fear mounts higher and higher,
He dares not leave the path.
‘Ah shepherd, I know you’re a pious soul,
Here are four good farthings that I’ve saved,
Give me your servant as escort
To accompany me to the village!
I’ll give him the money that he might buy
Next Sunday a tasty pint of beer,
I carry this money around with dread,
For in my dream I was killed for it!’
The shepherd beckoned his lanky servant,
Who was carving a stick for the journey,
And now he appeared—how the boy shuddered
When he saw the servant’s face!
‘Ah, master shepherd, ah no, ah no,
It’s better if I go alone!’
The lanky servant grinned at his old master:
‘He wants to keep the four farthings himself.’
‘Here—take the four farthings!’ He throws them down
And hurries away with distracted mind.
He can already see the willow tree,
When the servant touches his shoulder.
‘You’ll never make it, you’re going too fast,
More haste, less speed, you’re only a child,
And the money must be weighing you down,
No one will blame you for resting a while!
Come, sit yourself beneath the willow,
Where you can tell me your terrible dream,
I too had a dream—and may God damn me,
If mine is not the same as yours.’
He takes hold of the boy by his hand,
The boy who now resists no more,
The leaves rustle so eerily,
The little stream murmurs so sadly!
‘You had a dream, you say.’—‘Yes, there came a man—’
‘Was it me? Take a closer look,
I think it was me you saw!
Continue, how did it happen?’
‘He drew a knife!’—‘Was it like this one?’—
‘Yes, yes!’—‘He drew it?’—‘And plunged it deep—’
‘Plunged it into your throat?
But what is the use of torturing you!’
And if you ask what happened next,
Then ask two birds who were sitting there,
The raven lingered happily at the scene,
The dove did not stir at all!
The raven will tell what the ruffian did,
And how the hangman avenged the deed.
The dove will tell how the boy
Wept and prayed.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Robert Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.

Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as KinderszenenAlbum für die JugendBlumenstück, the Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.

In 1840, Schumann married Friedrich Wieck's daughter Clara, against the wishes of her father, following a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career as a pianist, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.

Schumann suffered from a lifelong mental disorder, first manifesting itself in 1833 as a severe melancholic depressive episode, which recurred several times alternating with phases of ‘exaltation’ and increasingly also delusional ideas of being poisoned or threatened with metallic items. After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted to amental asylum, at his own request, in Endenich near Bonn. Diagnosed with "psychotic melancholia", Schumann died two years later in 1856 without having recovered from his mental illness.

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Poet

Christian Friedrich Hebbel, was a German poet and dramatist.

Hebbel was born at Wesselburen in Ditmarschen, Holstein, the son of a bricklayer. He was educated at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums. Despite his humble origins, he showed a talent for poetry, resulting in the publication, in the Hamburg Modezeitung, of verses which he had sent to Amalie Schoppe (1791–1858), a popular journalist and author of nursery tales. Through her patronage, he was able to go to the University of Hamburg.

A year later he went to Heidelberg to study law, but gave it up and went on to the University of Munich, where he devoted himself to philosophy, history and literature. In 1839 Hebbel left Munich and walked all the way back to Hamburg, where he resumed his friendship with Elise Lensing, whose self-sacrificing assistance had helped him over the darkest days in Munich. In the same year he wrote his first tragedy, Judith (1840, published 1841), which in the following year was performed in Hamburg and Berlin and made his name known throughout Germany.

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.


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