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Auf einen Kirchhof (1815) D151

Auf einen Kirchhof

Sei gegrüsst, geweihte Stille 
Die mir sanfte Trauer weckt 
Wo Natur die bunte Hülle 
Freundlich über Gräber deckt.
Leicht von Wolkenduft getragen 
Senkt die Sonne ihren Lauf 
Aus der finstern Erde schlagen 
Glühend rote Flammen auf!
Ach, auch ihr, erstarrte Brüder 
Habet sinkend ihn vollbracht; 
Sankt ihr auch so herrlich nieder 
In des Grabes Schauernacht?
Schlummert sanft, ihr kalten Herzen 
In der düstern langen Ruh’,
Eure Wunden, eure Schmerzen 
Decket mild die Erde zu!
Neu zerstören, neu erschaffen 
Treibt das Rad der Weltenuhr. 
Kräfte, die am Fels erschlaffen 
Blühen wieder auf der Flur.
Und auch du, geliebte Hülle, 
Sinkest zuckend einst hinab
Und erblühst in schöner Fülle 
Neu, ein Blümchen auf dem Grab.
Wankst, ein Flämmchen durch die Grüfte 
Irrest flimmernd durch dies Moor; 
Schwingst, ein Strahl, dich durch die Lüfte, 
Klingest hell, ein Ton, empor!
Aber du, das in mir lebet,
Wirst auch du des Wurmes Raub? 
Was entzückend mich erhebet, 
Bist auch du nur eitel Staub?
Nein! Was ich im Innern fühle,
Was entzückend mich erhebt
Ist der Gottheit reine Hülle
Ist ihr Hauch, der in mir lebt.

To a churchyard

I greet you, holy stillness,
which awakens within me gentle sorrow, 
where kindly nature drapes
her bright mantle over graves.
Lightly borne by hazy clouds 
the sun sinks in its course. 
From the dark earth 
glowing red flames leap up!
Ah, you too, lifeless brothers,
have sunk down to fulfil your course; 
did you, too, sink so gloriously
into the dread night of the grave?
Slumber softly, cold hearts,
in your long, sombre peace; 
your wounds, your pain,
are gently covered by the earth!
To destroy and to create anew
the wheel of the world’s clock drives on; 
forces that languish in the rock 
blossom again in the meadows.
And you too, beloved mortal frame, 
will one day sink down, quivering, 
and blossom anew in glorious fullness, 
as a flower on the grave.
You will waver, as a flame through the graves. 
You will flicker, lost across this moor;
as a shaft of light, you will pierce the air,
as a resonant tone, you will soar upwards.
But you, who live within me,
will you, too, fall prey to the worm? 
You who exalt and delight me,
are you, too, but vain dust?
No! What I feel deep inside me,
that exalts and delights me
is the pure spirit of the Godhead,
is his breath, which lives within me.

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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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