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Dithyrambe (1823) D801


Nimmer, das glaubt mir,erscheinen die Götter,
Nimmer allein.
Kaum daß ich Bacchus, den lustigen, habe,
Kommt auch schon Amor, der lächelnde Knabe,
Phöbus der Herrliche findet sich ein.
Sie nahen, sie kommen, die Himmlischen alle,
Mit Göttern erfüllt sich die irdische Halle.
Sagt, wie bewirth' ich, der Erdegebohrne,
Himmlischen Chor?
Schenket mir euer unsterbliches Leben,
Götter! Was kann euch der Sterbliche geben?
Hebet zu eurem Olymp mich empor!
Die Freude, sie wohnt nur in Jupiters Saale,
O füllet mit Nektar, o reicht mir die Schale!
Reich' ihm die Schale! O schenke dem Dichter,
Hebe, nur ein!
Netz' ihm die Augen mit himmlischem Taue,
Daß er den Styx, den verhaßten, nicht schaue,
Einer der Unsern sich dünke zu sein.
Sie rauschet, sie perlet, die himmlische Quelle,
Der Busen wird ruhig, das Auge wird helle.


Never, believe me, never, do the gods appear
No sooner is merry Bacchus to hand,
Than Cupid comes too, the smiling boy,
Glorious Phoebus also drops by.
The Immortals are coming, one and all,
This earthly abode is filled with gods.
Say, how shall I, born of this earth,
Entertain the heavenly choir?
Grant me your immortal life,
Ye gods! What can a mere mortal give you?
Raise me up to your Olympus!
Joy dwells only in Jupiter’s hall,
O pour me some nectar, O hand me the cup!
Pass him the cup! O fill the poet’s cup,
Hebe, fill!
Moisten his eyes with heavenly dew,
So he does not see the hated Styx,
And think himself as one of us.
The heavenly spring murmurs and sparkles,
The heart grows calm, the eye grows bright.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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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 Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents to their philosophical vision.

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