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Suleika (1843) Op. 57 no.3


Was bedeutet die Bewegung?
Bringt der Ost mir frohe Kunde?
Seiner Schwingen frische Regung
Kühlt des Herzens tiefe Wunde.
Kosend spielt er mit dem Staube,
Jagt ihn auf in leichten Wölkchen,
Treibt zur sichern Rebenlaube
Der Insekten frohes Völkchen.
Lindert sanft der Sonne Glühen,
Kühlt auch mir die heissen Wangen,
Küsst die Reben noch im Fliehen,
Die auf Feld und Hügel prangen.
Und mir bringt sein leises Flüstern
Von dem Freunde tausend Grüsse;
Eh’ noch diese Hügel düstern,
Grüssen mich wohl tausend Küsse.
Und so kannst du weiter ziehen!
Diene Freunden und Betrübten.
Dort wo hohe Mauern glühen,
Dort find’ ich bald den Vielgeliebten.
Ach, die wahre Herzenskunde,
Liebeshauch, erfrischtes Leben
Wird mir nur aus seinem Munde,
Kann mir nur sein Atem geben.


What does this stirring portend?
Is the east wind bringing me joyful tidings?
The refreshing motion of its wings
cools the heart’s deep wound.
It plays caressingly with the dust,
throwing it up in light clouds,
and drives the happy swarm of insects
to the safety of the vine-leaves.
It gently tempers the burning heat of the sun,
and cools my hot cheeks;
even as it flies it kisses the vines
that adorn the fields and hillsides.
And its soft whispering brings me
a thousand greetings from my beloved;
before these hills grow dark
I shall be greeted by a thousand kisses.
Now you may pass on,
and serve the happy and the sad;
there, where high walls glow,
I shall soon find my dearly beloved.
Ah, the true message of the heart,
the breath of love, renewed life
will come to me only from his lips,
can be given to me only by his breath.
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847), brother of Fanny Mendelssohn and grandson of Haskalah and Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn's compositions include symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music. 

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Marianne von Willemer was an Austrian actress and dancer best known for her relationship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and her appearance in his poetry. At the age of 14 she moved to Frankfurt am Main, where she became the third wife of Frankfurt banker Johann Jakob von Willemer. He introduced her to Goethe, who met Marianne in 1814 and 1815. Goethe immortalised her in the Buch Suleika of his late work West-östlicher Diwan; she later revealed that several of its poems were authored by her.

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