Category Archives: Justinus Kerner


Justinus Kerner: “The Mountain Voice”

Excerpt, “A Book of Ballads From the German.”  Translator Percy Boyd.  1848.

.

The-Mountain-Voice1aa

.

The Mountain Voice2

.The Mountain Voice4

Justinus Kerner: “The Wealthiest Prince”

Excerpt, “Ballads From The German.”   Translator:  Henry Inglis.  1864.

 

clipar176

THE WEALTHIEST PRINCE

At Worms, one day, a princely band,

In the height of their content,

And pride of ancestry and land,

Held high boastful argument.

.

“Glorious,” cried the Saxon king,

“Are the riches of my land!

The silver ore lies glistering

Through the rock and river strand.”

.

“Ours is the fabled Grecian horn,”

Said the ruler of the Rhine;

“Our vales wave with golden corn;

On our mountains grows the vine.”

.

“We have our cities red with gold,”

Quoth the Bairisch monarch proud;

“We have our monasteries old,

With the wealth of kings endowed.”

,

Then up spake Württemberg so bold;

His beard of the darkest dye:

“Nor Vintages, nor grain, nor gold,

Nor convents, nor towns have I.

.

“But I can roam our forests deep,

When the sun has sunk to rest;

And I can lay my head in sleep

Upon the wanderer’s breast.”

.

Then Saxon, Bairisch, and Rhine

Proclaimed through the Kaiser’s hall:

“Graf of the beard, the palm is thine;

Thy treasure is best of all.”



Justinus Kerner: “Longing for the woodlands”

Set by Robert Schumann (1810-1856), “Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend”, op. 35 no. 5 (1840), from “Zwolf Lieder, no. 5.” Translation © Emily Ezust, Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Caspar_David_Friedrich

“Der Abend” – Caspar David Friedrich, 1820-21.

Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend

 

Would that I had never left you,

woodlands, lofty and wondrous!

You held me lovingly in your embrace

for many a long, long year.

 

Where, in your twilit spots,

there was birdsong and silver streams,

there also sprang up many songs

from my bosom, fresh and bright.

 

Your surging, your echoes,

your never-tiring whispering,

your melodies all

awoke song in my breast.

 

Here in these wide meadows

everything is desolate and mute to me,

and I gaze up into the blue sky,

looking for shapes in the clouds.

 

While you compelled song from my breast,

it seldom stirs now,

just as the bird sings only a half song

when parted from tree and leaf.

.