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Everything he wrote, always has its own distinctive flavour. Many his poems have been set to music. He was a German Romantic poet of the Swabian school, in Southern Germany. Eduard Moerike was born in Ludwigsburg and studied Theology at the Seminary of Tübingen (following the ecclesiastical career, becoming a Lutheran pastor). His poems are lyrics and are expressed in simple, natural language. All his life he suffered from psychosomatic illnesses, by the conflict between his humanist aspirations and his religious dogmas. He worked with free rhythms, sonnets and classical metres. Many of his lyrics were set to music by Hugo Wolf.

AT THE WOOD’S EDGE – At the wood’s edge I can lie for long afternoons, in the grass listening to the cuckoo. It seems to lull the whole valley to sleep with peaceful rhythm, with plaintive sounds. Here I feel at ease, and my worst vexation, putting up with the vanity of others, can never reach me to inflict pain, and I can indulge myself to my liking. And if the fine people could only see, how lavishly poets can while their time away, they would learn to eye me with envy. For the sonnet’s taut wreath is woven in my hands of itself it seems, while my eyes feast on distant scenes.

TO SLEEP – Sleep! Sweet sleep! Nothing is more like death than you, I welcome you onto this couch with me! For if living without life is thus, how sweet it must be! So far from death, ah, how easy dying must be!

TO AN OLD PICTURE – In a flowery green summer landscape, near cool water, rushes and reeds, behold, how the sinless child plays unrestrained on the Virgin’s knee! And there in the woods serene, ah, the cross’s tree already greens!

TO A CHILD – My child, in what war did you have to lose these yellow curls? A rosebush tore them when you jumped! You hardly know and even smile. God grant that in times to come, never a pain nor any other loss may reach your young heart more bitterly than this mild robbery must have cost

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