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Andres Maienlied 'Hexenlied' (1828) Op.8 no.8

Andres Maienlied 'Hexenlied'

De Schwalbe fliegt,
Der Früling siegt,
Und spendet uns Blumen zum Kranze!
Bald huschen wir
Lies’ aus der Tür,
Und fliegen zum prächtigen Tanze!
Ein schwarzer Bock,
Ein Besenstock,
Die Ofengabel, der Wocken,
Reißt uns geschwind,
Wie Blitz und Wind,
Durch sausende Lüfte zum Brocken!
Um Beelzebub
Tanzt unser Trupp,
Und küßt ihm die kralligen Hände!
Ein Geisterschwarm
Faßt uns beim Arm,
Und schwinget im Tanzen die Brände!
Und Beelzebub
Verheißt dem Trupp
Der Tanzenden Gaben auf Gaben:
Sie sollen schön
In Seide gehn
Und Töpfe voll Goldes sich graben!
Ein Feuerdrach’
Umflieget das Dach
Und bringet uns Butter und Eier:
Die Nachbarn dann sehn
Die Funken wehn,
Und schlagen ein Kreuz vor dem Feuer.
Die Schwalbe fliegt
Der Frühling siegt,
Die Blumen erblühen zum Kranze.
Bald huschen wir
Leis’ aus der Tur,
Juchheisa! zum prächtigen Tanze!

Another kind of May song 'Witches' Song'

Swallows are flying,
Spring’s triumphant,
Dispensing flowers for wreaths!
Soon we’ll flit
Quietly outside,
And fly to the splendid dance!
A black goat,
A broomstick,
The furnace rake, the distaff
Whisk us on our way,
Like lightning and wind,
Through whistling gales to the Brocken!
Our coven dances
Round Beelzebub
And kisses his claw-like hands!
A ghostly throng
Seizes our arms,
Waving firebrands as they dance!
And Beelzebub
Pledges the throng
Of dancers gift after gift:
They shall be dressed
In beautiful silk
And dig themselves pots full of gold!
A fiery dragon
Flies round the roof
And brings us butter and eggs:
The neighbours catch sight
Of the flying sparks,
And cross themselves for fear of the fire.
Swallows are flying,
Spring’s triumphant,
Flowers are blooming for wreaths.
Soon we’ll flit
Quietly outside –
Tally-ho to the splendid dance!
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

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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Poet

Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, was German poet who is considered the most gifted lyric poet of the Göttinger Hain, a group of young poets who saw themselves as heirs of the great lyric poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and whose work was characterized by love of nature and the expression of national feeling.

He was influenced by Johann Uz and Friedrich Klopstock, but his love for the Volkslied and his delight in nature preserved him from the artificiality of Uz and the unworldliness of Klopstock. A strain of melancholy runs through all his lyrics. His ballads are the pioneers of the rich ballad literature on English models, which sprang up in Germany over the next few years.

To many, the opening lines of Hölty's poem Der alte Landmann an seinen Sohn ("he Old Farmer to His Son) are the very embodiment of all Prussian virtues. This poem was set to music by Mozart to a melody adapted from the aria Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from his 1791 opera The Magic Flute. It was played daily by the carillon of the Potsdam Garrison Church where Frederick the Great was initially buried.

Many of Hölty's poems were set to music by composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Several streets and schools in Germany are named after him, including the Hölty-Gymnasium in Wunstorf near Hanover; in 2008, the biennial poetry prize Hölty-Preis was created in his name.

Among the many poems set by Schubert are An den Mond (D193 and D468),  An die Nachtigall (D196), Blumenlied (D431), Frühlingslied (D243 and D398), Klage (D436), Mailied (D129, D199 and D202), Minnelied (D429), Die Nonne (D208), Seligkeit (D433), Totengräberlied (D38 and D44) and Winterlied (D401).

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