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Der Jüngling am Bache (1819) D638

Der Jüngling am Bache

An der Quelle sass der Knabe,
Blumen wand er sich zum Kranz,
Und er sah sie fortgerissen,
Treiben in der Wellen Tanz.
„Und so fliehen meine Tage
Wie die Quelle rastlos hin!
Und so bleichet meine Jugend,
Wie die Kränze schnell verblühn!
„Fraget nicht, warum ich traure
In des Lebens Blütenzeit!
Alles freuet sich und hoffet,
Wenn der Frühling sich erneut.
Aber diese tausend Stimmen
Der erwachenden Natur
Wecken in dem tiefen Busen
Mir den schweren Kummer nur.
„Was soll mir die Freude frommen,
Die der schöne Lenz mir beut?
Eine nur ist’s, die ich suche,
Sie ist nah und ewig weit.
Sehnend breit’ ich meine Arme
Nach dem teuren Schattenbild,
Ach, ich kann es nicht erreichen,
Und das Herz bleibt ungestillt!
„Komm herab, du schöne Holde,
Und verlass dein stolzes Schloss!
Blumen, die der Lenz geboren,
Streu’ ich dir in deinen Schoss.
Horch, der Hain erschallt von Liedern,
Und die Quelle rieselt klar!
Raum ist in der kleinsten Hütte
Für ein glücklich liebend Paar.“

The Youth By the Brook

By the stream sat a youth,
weaving flowers into a wreath;
he saw them carried off
and swept along in the dancing waves.
‘Thus my days speed by,
relentlessly, like the stream!
And my youth grows pale,
as quickly as the wreaths wilt!
‘Do not ask me why I mourn
in life’s fullest bloom!
All is filled with joy and hope
when spring returns.
But a thousand voices
of burgeoning nature
awaken deep in my heart
only heavy grief.
‘What good to me is the joy
which the fair spring offers me?
There is only one I seek;
she is near and yet eternally distant.
Yearningly I stretch out my arms
towards that beloved shadowy image;
ah, I cannot reach it,
and my heart is unquiet.
‘Come down, gracious beauty,
and leave your proud castle!
Flowers, which the spring has borne,
I shall strew on your lap.
Listen! The grove echoes
with song and the brook ripples limpidly.
There is room in the tiniest cottage
for a happy, loving couple.’

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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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