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An eine Quelle (1817)

An eine Quelle

Du kleine grünumwachsne Quelle,
An der ich Daphne jüngst gesehn!
Dein Wasser war so still und helle!
Und Daphnes Bild darin so schön!
O wenn sie sich noch mal am Ufer sehen lässt, 
So halte du ihr schönes Bild doch fest;
Ich schleiche heimlich dann mit nassen Augen hin, 
Dem Bild meine Not zu klagen;
Denn, wenn ich bei ihr selber bin,
Dann, ach dann kann ich ihr nichts sagen.

To a spring

Little spring, mantled in green,
where lately I saw Daphne!
Your water was so still and clear,
and Daphne’s reflection so fair!
O, if she should appear once more on your banks, 
hold her fair image fast.
Then I will steal up furtively, with moist eyes, 
to bewail my distress to her image;
for, when I am with her,
ah, then I cannot say a word to her.

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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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Matthias Claudius was a German poet, most notable for Der Mond ist aufgegangen (The Moon Has Risen) and editor of the journal Der Wandsbecker Bothe

After studying at Jena, Claudius held a series of editorial and minor official positions in Copenhagen and Darmstadt until in 1788 he acquired a sinecure in the Schleswig-Holstein bank. He edited the Wandsbecker Bothe (1771–75), popular not only with a general readership, for whose enlightenment it was designed, but also with the most important literary men of the time. Among the journal’s contributors were the philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder, the poet Friedrich Klopstock, and the critic and dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the three of whom, with Claudius, formed a circle that fought against the prevailing rationalist and Classical spirit and sought to preserve a natural and Christian atmosphere in literature. Claudius’ own poems, e.g., Der Tod und das Mädchen, have a naive, childlike, and devoutly Christian quality.

Taken from Encyclopedia Britannica. To view the full Britannica article, please click here


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