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Die Mutter Erde (1823) D788

Die Mutter Erde

Des Lebens Tag ist schwer und schwül,
Des Todes Atem leicht und kühl,
Er wehet freundlich uns hinab,
Wie welkes Laub in’s stille Grab.
Es scheint der Mond, es fällt der Tau
Auf’s Grab wie auf die Blumenau;
Auch fällt der Freunde Trän hinein
Erhellt von sanfter Hoffnung Schein.
Uns sammelt alle, klein und gross.
Die Mutter Erd’ in ihren Schoss;
O säh’n wir ihr ins Angesicht,
Wir scheuten ihren Busen nicht!

Mother Earth

Life’s day is heavy and sultry,
the breath of death is light and cool;
fondly it wafts us down,
like withered leaves, into the silent grave.
The moon shines, the dew falls
on the grave as on the flowery meadow;
the tears of friends also fall,
lit by the gleam of gentle hope.
Mother Earth gathers us all, great and small,
in her lap;
if we would only look upon her face
we should not fear her bosom.
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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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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Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg-Stolberg, was a German poet, lawyer and translator born at Bramstedt in Holstein (then a part of Denmark).
Friedrich Leopold belonged to a cadet branch of the Stolberg family. He was born the son of a Danish magistrate and owner of a manorial estate, Count Christian zu Stolberg. Together with his brother Christian, Friedrich Leopold went to the University of Halle in 1770, in order to study German Law. His other studies embraced the Classics and various historical courses. The two brothers then studied in Göttingen and were a prominent members of the famous Hain or Dichterbund, a society of young men who had high aspirations for the unity of the country, and who cultivated German poetry. After leaving the university the brothers made a journey to Switzerland in company with the famed poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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