At the border

Set by Leonard J[ordan] Lehrman (b. 1949), "At the border", op. 72 no. 1, published 1984 [ tenor and piano ], from Ein Wanderer durch Deutschland, nach Heines Wintermärchen (A Wanderer through DEUTSCHLAND after Heine's Wintermärchen), no. 1  [sung text checked 1 time]

Note: this setting is made up of several separate texts.


One dull, dreary day in November 'twas, 
the morning we departed.
The wind tore all the leaves from the trees: 
My journey through Germany'd started.

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Researcher for this text: Leonard Lehrman


The French and the Russians control the land, 
the waves are ruled by Britain,
Leaving us the realm of the air and of dreams -- 
and that's where we best fit in.

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My friends, I hereby bid of you a song 
that's new and inspiring 
A Paradise right here on earth 
that everyone's desiring!

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While up above you could hear 
a little trilling and singing wren,
Here down below to inspect my bags 
came the Prussian customsmen.

Through everything sniffing, rifling around 
in trousers, shirts and underwear
A-looking for jewelry, lace, and especially forbidden books! 
"What is that there!?"

You fools, sticking your nose in my bags, 
just what do you think I'm hiding?
All of the contraband that I have 
lies here in my head residing!

Here you'll find jewels so finely made, 
and lace that a Belgian can't bring you,
And if I start to unpack the rest, 
you'll find it will tickle and sting you!

And many a book I've here in my head! 
Contagious, you'll discover -- 
My head is a dangerous carrier 
from which you never recover!

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Researcher for this text: Leonard Lehrman