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An die Harmonie (1816) D394

An die Harmonie

Schöpferin beseelter Töne!
Nachklang dem Olymp enthallt!
Holde, körperlose Schöne,
Sanfte geistige Gewalt,
Die das Herz der Erdensöhne
Kühn erhebt und mild umwallt!
Die in inn’rer Stürme Drange
Labt mit stillender Magie,
Komm mit deinem Sühngesange,
Himmelstochter Harmonie!
Seufzer, die das Herz erstickte,
Das, mißkannt, sich endlich schloß -
Thränen, die das Aug’ zerdrückte,
Das einst viel umsonst vergoß,
Dankt dir wieder der Entzückte,
Den dein Labequell umfloß.
Der Empfindung zarte Blume,
Die manch’ frost’ger Blick versengt,
Blüht, erquickt im Heiligtume
Einer Brust, die du getränkt.
Komm, Momente zu verschönen,
Dem, der nicht der Zukunft traut;
Schleuss den Blick mit Schlummertönen,
Der zu starr ins Dunkel schaut;
Wie den Säugling beim Entwöhnen
Eines Wiegenliedes Laut,
Lull’ auch uns in goldne Träume
Einer bessern, innern Welt,
Bis ein sanftres Licht die Räume
Unsres Kerkers still erhellt.
Tön’ in leisen Sterbechören
Durch des Todes Nacht uns vor!
Bei des äußern Sinns Zerstören
Weile in des Geistes Ohr!
Die der Erde nicht gehören,
Heb’ mit Schwanensang empor!
Löse sanft des Lebens Bande,
Mildre Kampf und Agonie,
Und empfang’ im Seelenlande
Uns, o Seraph, Harmonie!

To Harmony

Creator of inspired music!
Echo, sounding from Olympus! 
Gracious, disembodied beauty,
gentle spiritual power
who boldly uplifts and tenderly envelops 
the hearts of mortals;
who with soothing magic
quells the tempests within us,
come with your comforting music, 
harmony, daughter of heaven.
For sighs, suppressed by the heart
that, misunderstood, at length became closed; 
for tears, forced back by eyes
that had once wept so much in vain,
I thank you again, enraptured,
lapped by your healing stream.
The tender flower of feeling
blighted by many a frozen look,
blossoms, refreshed in the shrine
of a heart nurtured by you.
Come, grant bright moments
For those who do not trust the future;
With slumberous tones close the eyes
Of those who stare into the dark;
As the weaned infant is lulled
By the strains of a lullaby,
Lull us, too, to golden dreams
Of a better, inner world
Until a gentler light silently illuminates
The spaces of our prison.
In soft funereal strains
sing to us in the night of death.
As our external senses are destroyed, 
linger in the spirit’s ear.
Raise aloft with your swansong 
those who belong no more on earth. 
Gently loosen life’s bonds;
ease the struggle of our death throes, 
and receive us in the land of bliss, 
Seraphic harmony!

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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 Gaudenz Gubert Graf (& Freiherr) von Salis-Seewis was Swiss poet.

Salis-Seewis came from an old Swiss aristocracy. His father, baron Johann Ulrich von Salis-Seewis (1740–1815), was created a (primogenitive) Comte (count) at Versailles on 1 February 1777 having married Freiin Jakobea von Salis-Bothmar (1741–1791) in 1760. The Reichs-freiherrdom dated back to 20 January 1588, for Dietegan v. Salis.

Between 1779 and 1789 Salis served as an officer in the Swiss Guards in France in Paris, France, until the French revolution made him quit. Salis-Seewis was one of the favourites of Marie Antoinette. In the next year Salis-Seewis undertook a journey to the Netherlands and Germany (including Weimar), meeting Goethe, Herder, Schiller, Wieland, and Matthisson. He particularly connected with Matthisson, and an intimate friendship developed.

The poet colleagues shared a sense of Sturm und Drang and empathy, calling it the ""Bündner Nachtigall" (Graubünden nightingale). Salis-Seewis returned to Switzerland in 1791, living in Chur and marrying there, on 26 December 1793, the 22-year-old Ursina v. Pestalozzi (Chur 29 September 1771 - Malans 27 June 1835). They had two sons; Johann-Ulrich Dietegan (Comte) v. Salis-Seewis (1794–1844) and Johann-Jakob (Freiherr) v. Salis-Seewis (1800–1881). He had a lively involvement in the political changes in his homeland over the next years lively involved, endorsed the alliance of the Three Leagues of Switzerland to the new France, and the proclaimed Helvetic Republic. After the area was occupied by Austria in the following year, Salis-Seewis and his family had to flee to Zurich. There, he was appointed inspector general of the Helvetican troops. This activity brought him the nickname "poet general". He later went to Bern and received a place on the Court of cassation. When the Act of Mediation was issued by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, it became possible for Salis-Seewis to return to Graubünden. There he held several public offices until 1817, then he withdrew as Swiss federal colonel. His father had died two years before.

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