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Minona oder die Kunde der Dogge (1815) D152

Minona oder die Kunde der Dogge

Wie treiben die Wolken so finster und schwer
Über die liebliche Leuchte daher!
Wie rasseln die Tropfen auf Fenster und Dach!
Wie treibet’s da draussen so wütig und jach,
Als trieben sich Geister in Schlachten!
Und Wunder! Wie plötzlich die Kämpfenden ruhn,
Als bannten jetzt Gräber ihr Treiben und Tun!
Und über die Haide, und über den Wald –
Wie weht es so öde, wie weht es so kalt!
So schaurig vom schimmernden Felsen!
O Edgar! wo schwirret dein Bogengeschoss?
Wo flattert dein Haarbusch? wo tummelt dein Ross?
Wo schnauben die schwärzlichen Doggen um dich?
Wo spähst du am Felsen Beute für mich?
Dein harret das liebende Mädchen!
Dein harret, o Jüngling! im jeglichen Laut,
Dein harret so schmachtend die zagende Braut;
Es dünkt ihr zerrissen das liebliche Band,
Es dünkt ihr so blutig das Jägergewand –
Wohl minnen die Toten uns nimmer!
Noch hallet den moosigen Hügel entlang
Wie Harfengelispel ihr Minnegesang.
Was frommt es? Schon blicken die Sterne der Nacht
Hinunter zum Bette von Erde gemacht,
Wo eisern die Minnenden schlafen!
So klagt sie; und leise tappt’s draussen umher,
Es winselt so innig, so schaudernd und schwer;
Es fasst sie Ensetzen, sie wanket zur Tür,
Bald schmiegt sich die schönste der Doggen vor ihr,
Der Liebling des harrenden Mädchens;
Nicht, wie sie noch gestern mit kosendem Drang,
Ein Bote des Lieben, zum Busen ihr sprang –
Kaum hebt sie vom Boden den trauernden Blick,
Schleicht nieder zum Pförtchen, und kehret zurück,
Die schreckliche Kunde zu deuten.
Minona folgt schweigend mit bleichem Gesicht,
Als ruft es die Arme vor’s hohe Gericht –
Es leuchtet so düster der nächtliche Strahl –
Sie folgt ihr durch Moore, durch Haiden und Tal
Zum Fusse des schimmernden Felsen.
„Wo weilet, o schimmernder Felsen, der Tod?
Wo schlummert der Schläfer, vom Blute noch rot?“
Wohl war es zerrissen das liebliche Band,
Wohl hatt’ ihm, geschleudert von tückischer Hand,
Ein Mordpfeil den Busen durchschnitten.
Und als sie nun nahet mit ängstlichem Schrei,
Gewahrt sie den Bogen des Vaters dabei.
„O Vater, o Vater, verzeih es dir Gott!
Wohl hast du mir heute mit frevelndem Spott
So schrecklich den Dräuschwur erfüllet!
„Doch soll ich zermalmet von hinnen nun gehen?
Er schläft ja so lockend, so wonnig, so schön!
Geknüpft ist auf ewig das eherne Band;
Und Geister der Väter im Nebelgewand
Ergreifen die silbernen Harfen.“
Und plötzlich entreisst sie mit sehnender Eil
Der Wunde des Lieben den tötenden Pfeil;
Und stösst ihn, ergriffen von innigem Weh,
Mit Hast in den Busen so blendend als Schnee,
Und sinkt am schimmernden Felsen.

Minona, or the Mastiff's Tidings

How the clouds, so dark and heavy,
scud across the sweet sun!
How the raindrops rattle on window and roof!
How furious is the storm out there,
as if spirits were locked in battle.
And strange to tell! How suddenly the combatants
cease, as if the grave now put an end to their conflict!
And over the heath and the forest
how desolate, how cold is the wind,
blowing eerily from the shimmering rock!
O Edgar! Where is your whirring arrow?
Where is your flowing mane of hair? Where is your steed?
Where are the black mastiffs romping around you?
Where among the rocks are you seeking game
for me? Your loving maiden awaits you!
Your anxious bride awaits you, young man, with
every sound; she awaits you with such yearning.
She imagines the bonds of love broken, she imagines
your huntsman’s clothes covered with blood.
For the dead never love us!
Their love song echoes like whispering harps
over the mossy hillside.
To what avail? Already the night stars
gaze down upon the bed of earth
where the lovers sleep unshakeably.
Thus she laments; outside there is a soft tapping,
and a low whine, urgent and fearful.
Seized with horror she staggers to the door;
the finest of the mastiffs, her favourite,
nuzzles against the awaiting maiden.
Not a messenger of love, as yesterday
when it leapt at her breast with eager affection.
It barely lifts its mournful eyes from the ground,
creeps down to the door,
and back again,
to indicate its terrible tidings.
Minona follows, pale-faced and silent, as if,
poor girl, she were summoned before the high court.
The night sky shines with sombre gleam.
She follows the mastiff through bog, heath and valley
to the foot of the shimmering rock.
‘O shimmering rock, where does death lurk?
Where does the sleeper slumber, still red with blood?’
The bonds of love were indeed broken:
a fatal arrow, unleashed by an evil hand,
had pierced his breast.
And now, as she draws near with a fearful cry,
she sees her father’s bow nearby.
‘O father, father, may God forgive you!
Today you have fulfilled your vow of vengeance
so terribly, and with such cruel mockery!
‘But am I now to leave here, crushed?
He sleeps, so alluring, so happy, so handsome.
The iron bond is tied for ever;
in misty garments the spirits of our father
strike the silver harps.’
And suddenly, with passionate haste, she rips
the deathly arrow from her beloved’s wound;
overcome by intense grief, she plunges it
swiftly into her breast, as dazzling white as snow,
and sinks down upon the shimmering rock.

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

Little is known of the life of Friedrich Bertrand: according to recent information he was born in the vicinity of Halle, dying sometime after 1828, probably in Dessau. He was private secretary to the tax authorities, before becoming a freelance author and was later the councillor for Cöthen in the state of Magdeburg. Minona, D152 [2], to which Bertrand gave the subtitle Die Kunde der Dogge (The Mastiff’s Tidings), is a gloomy ballad in the style of the verse tales of Ossian (alias James MacPherson), which were immensely popular at the time and from which Schubert created nine, in some cases very extensive, settings until 1817. 

Schubert also set Bertrand's Adelwold und Emma to music (D211).

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