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Der Alpenjäger (1817) D588

Der Alpenjäger

Willst du nicht das Lämmlein hüten?
Lämmlein ist so fromm und sanft,
Nährt sich von des Grases Blüten,
Spielend an des Baches Ranft.
„Mutter, Mutter, lass mich gehen,
Jagen nach des Berges Höhen!“
Willst du nicht die Herde locken
Mit des Hornes munterm Klang?
Lieblich tönt der Schall der Glocken
In des Waldes Lustgesang.
„Mutter, Mutter, lass mich gehen,
Schweifen nach den wilden Höhen!“
Und der Knabe ging zu jagen,
Und es treibt und reisst ihn fort,
Rastlos fort mit blindem Wagen
An des Berges finstern Ort,
Vor ihm her mit Windesschnelle
Flieht die zitternde Gazelle.
Auf der Felsen nackte Rippen
Klettert sie mit leichtem Schwung,
Durch den Riss gespaltener Klippen
Trägt sie der gewagte Sprung,
Aber hinter ihr verwogen
Folgt er mit dem Todesbogen.
Mit der Jammers stummen Blicken
Fleht sie zu den harten Mann,
Fleht umsonst, denn loszudrücken
Legt er schon den Bogen an.
Plötzlich aus der Felsenspalte
Tritt der Geist, der Bergesalte.
Und mit seinen Götterhänden
Schützt er das gequälte Tier.
„Musst du Tod und Jammer senden,“
Ruft er, „bis herauf zu mir?
Raum für alle hat die Erde,
Was verfolgst du meine Herde?“

The Alpine Huntsman

Will you not tend the lamb,
so meek and mild?
It feeds on flowers in the grass,
gambolling beside the brook.
‘Mother, let me go
hunting in the high mountains.’
Will you not call the herd
with the merry sound of your horn?
The bells mingle sweetly
with the joyful song of the forest.
‘Mother, let me go
and roam the wild heights.’
And the boy went hunting,
driven relentlessly onwards
with blind daring,
to the bleak parts of the mountain.
Before him, swift as the wind,
flees the trembling gazelle.
On the bare rock face
she bounds effortlessly,
bravely she leaps
across chasms in the rocks;
but he pursues her boldly
with his deadly bow.
Gazing in mute distress
she implores the pitiless man:
but in vain, for already he draws his bow
and prepares to shoot.
Suddenly, from a rocky cleft,
the spirit of the mountain steps forth.
With his godlike hands
he protects the tormented beast.
‘Must you even bring death and woe’,
he cries, ‘up here to me?
The earth has room for all;
why do you persecute my herd?’

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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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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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