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The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive

Wachtfeuer

Language: German

Wachtfeuer. Man sitzt rundumher und wartet. 
Wartet, daß einer singt. 
Aber man ist so müd. 
Das rote Licht ist schwer. 
Es liegt auf den staubigen Schuhn. 
Es kriecht bis an die Kniee, 
es schaut in die gefalteten Hände hinein. 
Es hat keine Flügel. 
Die Gesichter sind dunkel. 
Dennoch leuchten eine Weile die Augen 
des kleinen Franzosen mit eigenem Licht. 
Er hat eine kleine Rose geküßt, 
und nun darf sie weiterwelken an seiner Brust.
Der von Langenau hat es gesehen, 
weil er nicht schlafen kann. 
Er denkt: Ich habe keine Rose, keine. 
Dann singt er. 
Und das ist ein altes trauriges Lied, 
das zu Hause die Mädchen auf den Feldern singen,
im Herbst, wenn die Ernten zu Ende gehen.

[Sagt der kleine Marquis. "Ihr seid sehr jung, Herr?" 
Und der von Langenau, in Trauer halb und halb im Trotz.
"Achtzehn." Dann schweigen sie. 
Später fragt der Franzose: 
"Habt Ihr auch eine Braut daheim, Herr Junker?" 
"Ihr?" gibt der von Langenau zurück. 
"Sie ist blond wie Ihr." 
Und sie schweigen wieder, bis der Deutsche ruft: 
"Aber zum Teufel, warum sitzt Ihr denn 
dann im Sattel und reitet durch dieses giftige Land 
den türkischen Hunden entgegen?" 
Der Marquis lächelt. "Um wiederzukehren."
Und der von Langenau wird traurig. 
Er denkt an ein blondes Mädchen, 
mit dem er spielte. Wilde Spiele. 
Und er möchte nach Hause, 
für einen Augenblick nur, 
nur für so lange, als es braucht, 
um die Worte zu sagen: "Magdalena, - 
daß ich immer so war, verzeih!" 
Wie - war? denkt der junge Herr. -
Und sie sind weit.]1



Translation(s): ENG FRE

View original text (without footnotes)
1 not set by Martin.

Submitted by John Versmoren

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, and transliterations (if applicable):
    * ENG English (Knut W. Barde) , "Watch-fire", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
    * FRE French (Pierre Mathé) , "Feu de camp", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Notes about green, red, and white dots

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Watch‑fire

Language: English

Watch-fire.  One sits around it and waits.  
Waits for someone to sing. 
But one is so tired.  
The red light is heavy. 
It rests on dusty shoes. 
It crawls up to the knees, 
it looks into the folded hands. 
It has no wings. 
The faces are dark. 
Yet for a while the eyes of the little Frenchman 
glow with their own light.  
He has kissed a small rose, 
and now it may continue to wilt on his breast.  
Von Langenau saw it 
because he could not sleep.  
He thinks:  I have no rose, none.  
Then he sings. 
And it as an old, sad, song, 
that the girls sing at home in the fields,
when the harvests near their end in the fall.

[Says the little Marquis: "You are very young, sir?"  
And von Langenau, half in sadness and half in defiance: 
"Eighteen". Then they are silent.  
Later the Frenchman asks:
"Do you have a bride at home, Squire?" 
"You?", retorts von Langenau. 
"She is blond like you." 
And again they are silent, until the German cries out: 
"What the devil then, why are you sitting 
in the saddle and riding through this poisonous land 
against the Turkish dogs?" 
The Marquis smiles.  "In order to return." 
And von Langenau becomes sad. 
He is thinking of a blond girl 
with whom he played. Wild games. 
And he wants to go home, 
just for a moment, 
only long enough 
to say the words:  "Magdalena,- 
please forgive that I was always so...!" 
How was I? the young man thinks. - 
And they are so far apart.]



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Authorship

    * Translation from German to English copyright © by Knut W. Barde, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. Please contact the copyright-holder(s) when requesting permission to reprint and be sure to give proper credit.

Based on

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.