by Joseph Viktor von Scheffel (1826 - 1886)

Der Abend kommt und die Herbstluft weht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Der Abend kommt und die Herbstluft weht,
Reifkälte spinnt um die Tannen,
O Kreuz und Buch und Mönchsgebet --
Wir müssen alle von dannen.                         

Die Heimat wird dämmernd und dunkel und alt,
Trüb rinnen die heiligen Quellen;
Du götterumschwebter, du grünender Wald,
Schon blitzt die Axt, dich zu fallen!
 
Und wir ziehen stumm, ein geschlagen Heer,
Erloschen sind unsere Sterne,
O Island, eisiger Fels im Meer,                      
Steig' auf aus nächtiger Ferne!
 
Steig' auf und empfah unser reisig Geschlecht,         
Auf geschnäbelten Schiffen kommen
Die alten Götter, das alte Recht,
Die alten Normannen geschwommen.
 
Wo der Feuerberg loht, Glutasche fällt,         
Sturmwogen die Ufer umschäumen:              
Auf dir, du trotziges Ende der Welt,              
Die Winternacht woll'n wir verträumen!

About the headline (FAQ)

Notes by Laura Prichard, which will appear in the forthcoming 2013 edition of this cantata published by Musikproduktion Höflich (München):

The German text is excerpted from the ninth chapter (entitled "Die Waldfrau") of Joseph Victor von Scheffel's (1826-1888) historical romance Ekkehard: A Tale of the Tenth Century (1857). This novel is based on the life of Ekkehard I (d. 973), Dean of the Abbey of St. Gall (Fürstabtel St. Gallen). As a member of the Benedictine order, Ekkehard was of noble birth, made a pilgrimage to Rome to receive relics of St. John the Baptist from Pope John XII, and was distinguished as a poet (his Latin epic Waltharius and ecclesiastical hymns and sequences were well-known in the medieval period). Robert White provided an English adaptation for twentieth-century reprints of the work.

By the ninth chapter of Ekkehard, the title character is journeying through the forests of Schwabia in late November. He decides to seek out the elderly Woman of the Wood after a discussion of witchcraft. She recalls Friduhelm, a sweetheart of her youth, who was kidnapped and became a Scandinavian pirate. She hums "an old Norseman's song which he had once taught her," ("Die traurige Jahreszeit gemahnte sie an ein altes Nordmännerlied, das er sie einst gelehrt; das summte sie jetzt vor sich hin:") printed in rhyming verse.


Authorship:

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "Song (or Lay) of the Norsemen", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Laura Prichard [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2013-04-29
Line count: 20
Word count: 113