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Songs

Das Geheimnis (1823) D793

Das Geheimnis

Sie konnte mir kein Wörtchen sagen,
Zu viele Lauscher waren wach;
Den Blick nur durft’ ich schüchtern fragen,
Und wohl verstand ich, was er sprach.
Leis’ komm’ ich her in deine Stille,
Du schön belaubtes Buchenzelt,
Verbirg in deiner grünen Hülle
Die Liebenden dem Aug’ der Welt!
Von ferne mit verworr’nem Sausen
Arbeitet der geschäft’ge Tag,
Und durch der Stimmen hohles Brausen
Erkenn’ ich schwerer Hämmer Schlag.
So sauer ringt die kargen Lose
Der Mensch dem harten Himmel ab:
Doch leicht erworben, aus dem Schosse
Der Götter fällt das Glück herab.
Dass ja die Menschen nie es hören,
Wie treue Lieb’ uns still beglückt!
Sie können nur die Freude stören,
Weil Freude nie sie selbst entzückt.
Die Welt wird nie das Glück erlauben,
Als Beute nur wird es gehascht,
Entwenden musst du’s oder rauben,
Eh’ dich die Missgunst überrascht.
Leis’ auf den Zehen kommt’s geschlichen,
Die Stille liebt es und die Nacht,
Mit schnellen Füssen ist’s entwichen,
Wo des Verräters Auge wacht.
O schlinge dich, du sanfte Quelle,
Ein breiter Strom um uns herum,
Und drohend mit empörter Welle
Verteidige dies Heiligtum!

The Secret

She could not speak one word to me,
there were too many listening;
I could only shyly question the look in her eyes,
and well understood what it meant.
Softly I approach your silence,
leafy beach grove;
beneath your green cloak
conceal the lovers from the eyes of the world.
Far away, in whirring confusion,
the bustling day is at work,
and through the empty buzz of voices
I discern the beat of heavy hammers.
Thus man toils to wrest his meagre lot
from a cruel heaven.
Yet happiness is easily won,
falling from the lap of the gods.
May people never hear
how happy our true love makes us.
They can only mar our joy,
since they have never tasted joy themselves.
The world will never permit happiness,
it can only be snatched;
you must seize it
before envy catches you unawares.
It steals in on tiptoe
cherishing silence and the night.
With rapid steps it flees
when the traitor lurks.
Gentle fountain, envelop us
like a broad stream,
and with angrily threatening waves
defend this sanctuary.

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Composer

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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Poet

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents to their philosophical vision.

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About Oxford Lieder

Oxford Lieder is one of the world's leading promoters of song and the winner of a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award. The focal point of each year is the two-week Oxford Lieder Festival in October.

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