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An den Mond (1816) D468

An den Mond

Was schauest du so hell und klar 
Durch diese Apfelbäume,
Wo einst dein Freund so selig war 
Und träumte süsse Träume? 
Verhülle deinen Silberglanz,
Und schimmre, wie du schimmerst, 
Wenn du den frühen Totenkranz 
Der jungen Braut beflimmerst!
Du blickst umsonst so hell und klar 
In diese Laube nieder;
Nie findest du das frohe Paar
In ihrem Schatten wieder.
Ein schwarzes, feindliches Geschick 
Entriss mir meine Schöne!
Kein Seufzer zaubert sie zurück, 
Und keine Sehnsuchtsträne!
O wandelt sie hinfort einmal
An meiner Ruhestelle,
Dann mache flugs mit trübem Strahl
Des Grabes Blumen helle!
Sie setze weinend sich aufs Grab,
Wo Rosen niederhangen,
Und pflücke sich ein Blümchen ab,
Und drück’ es an die Wangen.

To the Moon

Why do you gaze down, so bright and clear, 
through these apple trees,
where once your friend was so happy, 
dreaming sweet dreams?
Veil your silvery radiance,
and glimmer as you do
when you shine upon the funeral wreath
 of the young bride.
In vain you gaze down, so bright and clear, 
into this arbour.
Never again will you find the happy pair 
beneath its shade.
Dark, hostile fate
tore my beloved from me. 
No sighs, no tears of longing 
can conjure her back.
If one day she should come
to my resting place,
then, swiftly, with your sombre light 
make bright the flowers on my grave. 
May she sit weeping on my grave 
where roses droop,
and pluck a flower,
and press it to her cheek.

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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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Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, was German poet who is considered the most gifted lyric poet of the Göttinger Hain, a group of young poets who saw themselves as heirs of the great lyric poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and whose work was characterized by love of nature and the expression of national feeling.

He was influenced by Johann Uz and Friedrich Klopstock, but his love for the Volkslied and his delight in nature preserved him from the artificiality of Uz and the unworldliness of Klopstock. A strain of melancholy runs through all his lyrics. His ballads are the pioneers of the rich ballad literature on English models, which sprang up in Germany over the next few years.

To many, the opening lines of Hölty's poem Der alte Landmann an seinen Sohn ("he Old Farmer to His Son) are the very embodiment of all Prussian virtues. This poem was set to music by Mozart to a melody adapted from the aria Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from his 1791 opera The Magic Flute. It was played daily by the carillon of the Potsdam Garrison Church where Frederick the Great was initially buried.

Many of Hölty's poems were set to music by composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Several streets and schools in Germany are named after him, including the Hölty-Gymnasium in Wunstorf near Hanover; in 2008, the biennial poetry prize Hölty-Preis was created in his name.

Among the many poems set by Schubert are An den Mond (D193 and D468),  An die Nachtigall (D196), Blumenlied (D431), Frühlingslied (D243 and D398), Klage (D436), Mailied (D129, D199 and D202), Minnelied (D429), Die Nonne (D208), Seligkeit (D433), Totengräberlied (D38 and D44) and Winterlied (D401).

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