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Die schöne Nacht (1809) Op. 36 no.3

Die schöne Nacht

Nun verlaß ich diese Hütte,
Meiner Liebsten Aufenthalt,
Wandle mit verhülltem Schritte
Durch den öden, finstern Wald:
Luna bricht durch Busch und Eichen,
Zephyr meldet ihren Lauf,
Und die Birken streun mit Neigen
Ihr den süßten Weihrauch auf.
Wie ergötz’ ich mich im Kühlen
Dieser schönen Sommernacht!
O wie still ist hier zu fühlen,
Was die Seele glücklich macht!
Läßt sich kaum die Wonne fassen,
Und doch wollt’ ich, Himmel, dir
Tausend solcher Nächte lassen,
Gäb mein Mädchen eine mir.

The beautiful night

Now I leave this hut,
Where my beloved dwells,
Walk with muffled steps
Through the desolate dark wood:
The moon breaks through bush and oak-trees,
The West Wind announces her presence,
And the bowing birch-trees strew
Sweetest incense in her path.
How exquisite is the coolness
Of this beautiful summer night!
O how I feel in this silence
What fills the heart with happiness!
Its rapture can scarcely be grasped;
And yet, O heaven, I would forego
A thousand such nights,
If my beloved would grant me one.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Johann Friedrich Reichardt was a German composer, writer and music critic. He began his musical training at a young age, learning the violin, keyboard, and lute, as well as touring with the 'Wunderknaben', a boys' choir.

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Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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