The German poet and novelist Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788–1857) counts among the foremost representatives of Romanticism. Many of his poems had been set to music and were sung.
Von Eichendorff, born in Ratibor (today Racibórz in Poland), studied originally law and worked in a variety of administrative civil service positions, up until he retired. Simultaneously, he devoted his time to his writing and publishing skills, until he died from pneumonia in 1857.
His poem »The Moonlit Night« was created in 1837 and tells of the magic of a moonlit night and the echo in our soul, with wonderful words and rhymes.
The moonlit night
It was like Heaven’s glimmer
caressing Terra’s skin,
that in Her blossoms’ shimmer
She had to dream of Him.
The breeze was gently walking
through wheatfields near and far;
the woods were softly talking
so bright shone ev’ry star.
And, oh, my soul extended
its wings through skies to roam:
O’er quiet lands suspended,
my soul was flying home.
»The Moonlit Night« became very famous and had already been set to music 40 times by the end of the 19th century. Thomas Mann highly regarded this poem and called it »the pearl of the pearls«.
Here is a musical interpretation by Robert Schumann (1810–1856), sung by the German tenor Peter Schreier:
Translated into English by Walter A. Aue.