Eduard Mörike: “The Fire-Rider”

By Eduard Mörike (1804-1875) Set by Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) , “Der Feuerreiter”, from Mörike-Lieder, no. 44. Translation © by Emily Ezust, from The Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Hear the Lied! See the Video!

darkstalliona

Der Feuerreiter


Do you see at the window
there again, that red cap?
Something must be the matter
for it is going up and down.
And what a sudden mob
is now by the bridge near the field!
Hark! the fire-bell is shrilling:
beyond the hill,
beyond the hill,
there's a fire in the mill!
.
Look, there he goes, galloping furiously
through the gate - it's the fire-rider
on his horse, a bony nag
like a fire-ladder!
Across the fields, through the smoke and heat
he plunges, and he's already reached his goal!
Over there the bells are pealing,
beyond the hill,
beyond the hill,
there's a fire in the mill!
.
You who so often smelled fire
from a mile off,
and with a fragment of the holy cross
maliciously conjured the blaze -
Woe! from the rafters there grins
the Enemy of Man in hellish light.

May God have mercy on your soul!
Beyond the hill,
beyond the hill,
he is raging in the mill!
.
Not an hour had passed
before the mill was reduced to rubble;
but the bold rider
from that hour was never seen again.
People and wagons in crowds
turn toward home away from all the horror;
and the bell stops ringing:
beyond the hill,
beyond the hill,
it's burning!
.
Later a miller found
a skeleton together with the cap
upright against the wall of the cellar
sitting on the mare of bone:
Fire-rider, how coolly
you ride now to your grave!
Hush! there it falls to ashes.
Rest well,
rest well,
down there in the mill!
.
.