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Totengräbers Heimweh (1825) D842

Totengräbers Heimweh

O Menschheit, o Leben! -
Was soll's? o was soll's?!
Grabe aus - scharre zu!
Tag und Nacht keine Ruh! -
Das Treiben, das Drängen -
Wohin? - o wohin? - -
"Ins Grab - tief hinab!"
O Schicksal - o traurige Pflicht
Ich trag's länger nicht! - -
Wann wirst du mir schlagen,
O Stunde der Ruh?!
O Tod! komm und drücke
Die Augen mir zu! - -
Im Leben, da ist's ach! so schwül!
Im Grabe - so friedlich, so kühl!
Doch ach, wer legt mich hinein? -
Ich stehe allein! - so ganz allein!! -
Von allen verlassen
Dem Tod nur verwandt,
Verweil' ich am Rande -
Das Kreuz in der Hand,
Und starre mit sehnendem Blick,
Hinab - ins tiefe Grab! -
O Heimat des Friedens,
Der Seligen Land!
An dich knüpft die Seele
Ein magisches Band. -
Du winkst mir von Ferne,
Du ewiges Licht:
Es schwinden die Sterne -
Das Auge schon bricht! - -
Ich sinke - ich sinke! - Ihr Lieben, -
Ich komm! - - -

Gravedigger's longing

O mankind – O life! –
To what end – oh what end?!
Digging out – filling in!
Day and night no rest! –
The urgency, the haste –
Where does it lead! – ah where?! - -
‘Deep down – into the grave!’ –
O fate – O sad duty –
I can bear it no more! - -
When will you toll for me,
O hour of peace?! –
O death! Come
And close my eyes! - -
Life, alas, is so oppressive! –
The grave so peaceful, so cool!
But ah! Who will lay me there? –
I stand alone! – so utterly alone!! –
Abandoned by all,
With death my only kin,
I linger on the edge –
Cross in hand,
And stare longingly
Down – into the deep grave! –
O homeland of peace,
Land of the blessed!
A magic bond
Binds my soul to you. –
Eternal light,
You beckon me from afar: -
The stars vanish –
My eyes close in death! - -
I am sinking – I am sinking! – Loved ones –
I come! - - -
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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Jacob Nicolaus Craigher de Jachelutta was an Austrian poet and translator.  

He met Schubert in 1825 and gave him three of his poems to set, Die junge Nonne (D828), Totengräbers Heimwehe (D842), and Der blinde Knabe (D833), which was his translation of The Blind Boy by the English playwright and Poet Laureate, Colley Cibber.

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