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Das war ich (1815) D174

Das war ich

Jüngst träumte mir, ich sah auf lichten Höhen 
Ein Mädchen sich im jungen Tag ergehen,
So hold, so süss, dass es dir völlig glich.
Und vor ihr lag ein Jüngling auf den Knien,
Er schien sie sanft an seine Brust zu ziehen, 
Und das war ich.
Doch bald verändert hatte sich die Szene,
In tiefen Fluten sah ich jetzt die Schöne,
Wie ihr die letzte, schwache Kraft entwich,
Da kam ein Jüngling hülfreich ihr geflogen,
Er sprang ihr nach und trug sie aus den Wogen, 
Und das war ich!
So malte sich der Traum in bunten Zügen, 
Und überall sah ich die Liebe siegen,
Und alles, alles drehte sich um dich!
Du flogst voran in ungebund’ner Freie, 
Der Jüngling zog dir nach mit stiller Treue, 
Und das war ich!
Und als ich endlich aus dem Traum erwachte, 
Der neue Tag die neue Sehnsucht brachte,
Da blieb dein liebes, süsses Bild um mich. 
Ich sah dich von der Küsse Glut erwärmen, 
Ich sah dich selig in des Jünglings Armen, 
Und das war ich!

That was I

Recently I dreamt I saw on sunlit hills
a maiden wandering in the early morning, 
so fair, so sweet, that she resembled you. 
Before her knelt a youth.
He seemed to draw her gently to his breast; 
and that was I.
But soon the scene had changed.
I now saw that fair maiden in the deep flood;
her frail strength was deserting her.
Then a youth rushed to her aid;
he plunged after her and bore her from the waves; 
And that was I.
The dream was painted in bright colours; 
everywhere I saw love victorious,
and everything was centred on you!
You sailed on, free and unfettered.
The faithful youth followed you, silently, 
and that was I.
And when at length I awoke from my dream, 
the new day brought new longing.
Your dear, sweet image was still with me.
I saw you warmed by the fire of his kisses;
I saw you blissful in that youth’s arms. 
And that was I.

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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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Karl Theodor Körner  was a German poet and soldier. After some time in Vienna, where he wrote some light comedies and other works for the Burgtheater, he became a soldier and joined the Lützow Free Corps in the German uprising against Napoleon. During these times, he displayed personal courage in many fights, and encouraged his comrades by fiery patriotic lyrics he composed, among these being the “Schwertlied" (“Sword Song"), composed during a lull in fighting only a few hours before his death, and “Lützows wilde Jagd" ("Lützow's Wild Chase"), each set to music by both Carl Maria von Weber and Franz Schubert. He was often called the “German Tyrtaeus.

He was born at Dresden, capital of the Saxon electorate, the son of the consistorial councillor Christian Gottfried Körner and his wife Minna Stock Körner. He was raised by his parents and by his aunt, the artist Dora Stock, who lived in the home. He attended the Kreuzschule.

After his education, he chose mining as an occupation. He moved to Vienna, where he befriended Wilhelm von Humboldt, the Prussian ambassador, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel, and other eminent literary and scientific men. Here, within the short space of fifteen months, he produced a succession of dramas, operas, and farces, as well as several small poems. The success of his works obtained him the appointment of poet to the court at the Vienna Burgtheater. It was in this period of his life that he became betrothed to the popular actress Antonie Adamberger.

During the War of the Sixth Coalition, he left Vienna in March 1813, and together with Friedrich Friesen and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn joined the Lützow Free Corps, a voluntary paramilitary association which Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow was then forming in Breslau, Silesia. In the midst of the most active campaigns, Körner continued to write poetry and other works. He wrote a singspiel, Der vierjährige Posten, which was set to music by Franz Schubert in 1815, but the piece was not performed until 1869, when it was staged at the Hofoper, Dresden. It was later adapted in English as The Outpost.

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