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Der Wegweiser (1827)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Winterreise (D911)

Der Wegweiser

Was vermeid’ ich denn die Wege 
Wo die anderen Wandrer geh'n, 
Suche mir versteckte Stege 
Durch verschneite Felsenhöhn?
Habe ja doch nichts begangen, 
Dass ich Menschen sollte scheu'n – 
Welch ein törichtes Verlangen 
Treibt mich in die Wüstenei'n?
Weiser stehen auf den Strassen, 
Weisen auf die Städte zu,
Und ich wandre sonder Massen, 
Ohne Ruh’, und suche Ruh’.
Einen Weiser seh’ ich stehen 
Unverrückt vor meinem Blick; 
Eine Strasse muss ich gehen, 
Die noch Keiner ging zurück.

The Signpost

Why do I avoid the roads
that other travellers take,
and seek hidden paths
over the rocky, snow-clad heights?
Yet I have done no wrong, 
that I should shun mankind. 
What foolish yearning
drives me into the wilderness?
Signposts stand on the roads, 
pointing towards the towns; 
and I wander on, relentlessly, 
restless, and yet seeking rest.
I see a signpost standing
immovable before my eyes;
I must travel a road
from which no man has ever returned.

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Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He was uncommonly gifted from a young age, but appreciation of his music was limited during his lifetime. His work became more popular in the decades after his death, and was praised by 19th century composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Liszt.

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Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller was a German lyric poet.
Wilhelm Müller was born on October 7, 1794 at Dessau, the son of a tailor. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native town and at the University of Berlin, where he devoted himself to philological and historical studies. In 1813-1814 he took part, as a volunteer in the Prussian army, in the national rising against Napoleon. He participated in the battles of Lützen, Bautzen, Hanau and Kulm. In 1814 he returned to his studies at Berlin. From 1817 to 1819, he visited southern Germany and Italy, and in 1820 published his impressions of the latter in Rom, Römer und Römerinnen. In 1819, he was appointed teacher of classics in the Gelehrtenschule at Dessau, and in 1820 librarian to the ducal library. He remained there the rest of his life, dying of a heart attack aged only 32.

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