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Leichenfantasie (1811) D702

Leichenfantasie

Mit erstorb’nem Scheinen
Steht der Mond auf totenstillen Hainen;
Seufzend streicht der Nachtgeist durch die Luft –
Nebelwolken trauern,
Sterne trauern
Bleich herab, wie Lampen in der Gruft.
Gleich Gespenstern, stumm und hohl und hager,
Zieht in schwarzem Totenpompe dort
Ein Gewimmel nach dem Leichenlager
Unterm Schauerflor der Grabnacht fort.
Zitternd an der Krücke,
Wer mit düsterm, rückgesunknem Blicke
Ausgegossen in ein heulend Ach,
Schwer geneckt vom eisernen Geschicke,
Schwankt dem stummgetragnen Sarge nach?
Floss es „Vater“ von des Jünglings Lippe?
Nasse Schauer schauern fürchterlich
Durch sein gramgeschmolzenes Gerippe,
Seine Silberhaare bäumen sich.
Aufgerissen seine Feuerwunde!
Durch die Seele Höllenschmerz!
„Vater“ floss es von des Jünglings Munde.
„Sohn“ gelispelt hat das Vaterherz.
Eiskalt, eiskalt liegt er hier im Tuche.
Und dein Traum, so golden einst, so süss,
Süss und golden, Vater, dir zum Fluche!
Eiskalt, eiskalt liegt er hier im Tuche,
Deine Wonne und dein Paradies!
Mild, wie umweht von Elysiumslüften,
Wie aus Auroras Umarmung geschlüpft,
Himmlisch umgürtet mit rosigten Düften,
Florens Sohn über das Blumenfeld hüpft,
Flog er einher auf den lachenden Wiesen,
Nachgespiegelt von silberner Flut,
Wollustflammen entsprühten den Küssen,
Jagten die Mädchen in liebende Glut.
Mutig sprang er im Gewühle der Menschen,
Wie ein jugendlich Reh;
Himmelum flog er in schweifenden Wünschen,
Hoch wie der Adler in wolkigter Höh’:
Stolz wie die Rosse sich sträuben und schäumen,
Werfen im Sturme die Mähne umher,
Königlich wider den Zügel sich bäumen,
Trat er vor Sklaven und Fürsten daher.
Heiter wie Frühlingstag schwand ihm das Leben,
Floh ihm vorüber in Hesperus’ Glanz,
Klagen ertränkt’ er im Golde der Reben,
Schmerzen verhüpft’ er im wirbelnden Tanz.
Welten schliefen im herrlichen Jungen,
Ha! wenn er einsten zum Manne gereift –
Freue dich, Vater, im herrlichen Jungen
Wenn einst die schlafenden Keime gereift!
Nein doch, Vater – horch! die Kirchhoftüre brauset,
Und die ehrnen Angel klirren auf –
Wie’s hinein ins Grabgewölbe grauset!
Nein doch, lass den Tränen ihren Lauf!
Geh, du Holder, geh im Pfade der Sonne
Freudig weiter der Vollendung zu,
Lösche nun den edlen Durst nach Wonne,
Gramentbundner, in Walhallas Ruh!
Wiedersehn – himmlischer Gedanke!
Wiedersehn dort an Edens Tor!
Horch! der Sarg versinkt mit dumpfigem Geschwanke,
Wimmernd schnurrt das Totenseil empor!
Da wir trunken um einander rollten,
Lippen schwiegen, und das Auge sprach
„Haltet! Haltet!“ da wir boshaft grollten –
Aber Tränen stürzten wärmer nach.
Mit erstorb’nem Scheinen
Steht der Mond auf totenstillen Hainen;
Seufzend streicht der Nachtgeist durch die Luft –
Nebelwolken trauern,
Sterne trauern
Bleich herab, wie Lampen in der Gruft.
Dumpfig schollert’s überm Sarg zum Hügel,
O um Erdballs Schätze nur noch einen Blick!
Starr und ewig schliesst des Grabes Riegel,
Dumpfer – dumpfer schollert’s überm Sarg zum Hügel,
Nimmer gibt das Grab zurück.

Funereal Fantasy

With dim light
the moon shines over the death-still groves;
sighing, the night spirit skims through the air –
mist-clouds lament,
pale stars shine down mournfully
like lamps in a vault.
Like ghosts silent, hollow, gaunt,
in black funeral pomp
a procession moves towards the graveyard
beneath the dread veil of the burial night.
Who is he who trembling on crutches
with sombre, sunken gaze,
pouring out his misery in a cry of pain,
and harshly tormented by an iron fate
totters behind the silently borne coffin?
Did the boy’s lips say ‘Father’?
Damp, fearful shudders run through
his frame, racked with grief;
his silver hair stands on end.
His burning wound is torn open
by the hellish pain of his soul!
‘Father’, uttered the boy’s lips.
‘Son’, whispered the father’s heart.
Ice-cold, he lies here in his shroud,
and your dream, once so golden, so sweet,
sweet and golden, now a curse on you, father!
Ice-cold, he lies here in his shroud,
your joy and your paradise!
Gently, as if stroked by Elysian breezes,
as if slipping from Aurora’s embrace,
wreathed in the heavenly fragrance of roses,
it were Flora’s son dancing over the flowery fields,
he flew across the smiling meadows,
mirrored by the silver waters;
flames of desire sprang from his kisses,
driving maidens to burning passion.
Bravely he leapt amid the swarm of humanity,
like a young deer;
with his restless longings he flew around the heavens.
As high as an eagle, soaring in the clouds;
proud as the steeds as they rear, foaming,
tossing their manes in the storm,
and regally resisting the reins,
did he walk before slaves and princes.
His life slipped by, as bright as a spring day,
flying past him in the glow of Hesperus.
He drowned his sorrows in the golden vine;
he tripped away his grief in the whirling dance.
Whole worlds lay dormant in the fine youth.
Ah! When he matures into a man –
rejoice father, in the fine boy,
when, one day, the latent seeds are ripened!
But no, father – hark! The churchyard gate is rattling,
and the iron hinges are creaking open –
how terrifying it is to peer into the grave!
But no, let the tears flow!
So, gracious youth, in the sun’s path,
joyfully onwards to perfection,
quench your noble thirst for joy,
released from pain, in the peace of Valhalla!
To see him again – heavenly thought!
To see him again at the gates of Eden!
Hark! The coffin sways and falls with a dull thud;
the ropes whirr upwards with a whine!
When we rolled drunkenly among one another
our lips were silent, but our eyes spoke:
‘Stop! Stop!’ when we grew angry –
but afterwards tears fell more warmly.
With dim light
the moon shines over the death-still groves;
sighing, the night spirit skims through the air –
mist-clouds are shivering,
pale stars shine down mournfully,
like lamps in a vault.
With a thud clods pile over the coffin.
Oh, for just one more glimpse of the earth’s treasure!
The grave’s bolts close, rigid and eternal;
the thud of the clods grows duller as they pile over the coffin,
the grave will never yield up!

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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