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Songs

Songs

Lebenslied (1816) D508

Lebenslied

Kommen und Scheiden,
Suchen und Meiden,
Fürchten und Sehnen,
Zweifeln und Wähnen,
Armut und Fülle, Verödung und Pracht
Wechseln auf Erden wie Dämmrung und Nacht!
Fruchtlos hinieden
Ringst du nach Frieden!
Täuschende Schimmer
Winken dir immer;
Doch, wie die Furchen des gleitenden Kahns,
Schwinden die Zaubergebilde des Wahns!
Auf zu der Sterne
Leuchtender Ferne
Blicke vom Staube
Mutig der Glaube:
Dort nur verknüpft ein unsterbliches Band
Wahrheit und Frieden, Verein und Bestand!
Günstige Fluten
Tragen die Guten,
Fördern die Braven
Sicher zum Hafen,
Und, ein harmonisch verklingendes Lied,
Schliesst sich das Leben dem edlen Gemüt!
Männlich zu leiden,
Kraftvoll zu meiden,
Kühn zu verachten,
Bleib unser Trachten
Bleib unser Kämpfen in eherner Brust,
Uns des unsträflichen Willens bewusst.

Song of Life

Arriving and departing,
seeking and shunning,
fearing and yearning,
doubting and guessing,
poverty and abundance, desolation and splendour
alternate on earth like dusk and night.
In vain you strive
for peace here below.
Will-o’-the-wisps
forever beckon to you;
but, like the furrows ploughed by the gliding boat,
these magic creations of illusion vanish.
Let faith bravely
gaze up from the dust
to the stars
shining in the distance;
only there does an undying bond
unite truth and peace, fellowship and permanence.
Favourable tides
bear the virtuous,
carry the brave
safely to harbour,
and to the noble spirit life
closes as a harmonious, dying song.
To suffer manfully,
To avoid resolutely,
To despise boldly:
Let us make this our endeavour!
And our striving,
Conscious of a spotless will within our iron breast!

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

Friedrich von Matthisson was a German poet, an early member of the German Romantic movement. His best known poem is probably Adelaide, which was set to music by Beethoven.

He was born at Hohendodeleben near Magdeburg, the son of the village pastor, on the 23rd of January 1761. After studying theology and philology at the university of Halle, he was appointed in 1781 master at the classical school Philanthropinum in Dessau. This once famous seminary was, however, then rapidly decaying in public favor, and in 1784 Matthisson was glad to accept a travelling tutorship. He lived for two years with the Swiss author Bonstetten at Nyon on Lake Geneva.

In 1794 he was appointed reader and traveling companion to Princess Louisa of Anhalt-Dessau (wife of Leopold III, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau). They visited Switzerland, Tyrol, and Italy. For a time, they were joined in their travels by Danish author and salonist Friederike Brun. After Princess Louisa's death in 1811, he entered the service of the king of Württemberg, was ennobled, created counselor of legation, appointed intendant of the court theatre and chief librarian of the royal library at Stuttgart. He resided for a time in Italy. In 1828 he retired and settled at Wörlitz near Dessau, where he died on the 12th of March 1831.

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