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Der Knabe (1820) D692

Der Knabe

Wenn ich nur ein Vöglein wäre,
Ach, wie wollt’ ich lustig fliegen,
Alle Vögel weit besiegen.
Wenn ich so ein Vogel bin,
Darf ich, alles haschen,
Und die höchsten Kirschen naschen;
Fliege dann zur Mutter hin.
Ist sie bös in ihrem Sinn,
Kann ich lieb mich an sie schmiegen,
Ihren Ernst gar bald besiegen.
Bunte Federn, leichte Flügel
Dürft’ ich in der Sonne schwingen,
Dass die Lüfte laut erklingen,
Weiss nichts mehr von Band und Zügel.
Wär’ ich über jene Hügel,
Ach, dann wollt’ ich lustig fliegen,
Alle Vögel weit besiegen.

The boy

If only I were a bird,
ah, how joyfully I would fly,
far outstripping all other birds.
If I were a bird
I could get everything
and nibble the highest cherries.
Then I’d fly back to mother.
If she were angry
I could nestle sweetly up to her
and soon overcome her sternness.
Coloured feathers, light wings,
I could flap them in the sunlight,
so that the air resounded loudly,
I would no longer be curbed and shackled.
If I were beyond those hills,
ah, how joyfully I would fly,
far outstripping all other birds.

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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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Karl Wilhelm Friedrich (after 1814: von) Schlegel  was a German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and indologist. With his older brother, August Wilhelm Schlegel, he was one of the main figures of the Jena romantics. He was a zealous promoter of the Romantic movement and inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Adam Mickiewicz and Kazimierz Brodziński. Schlegel was a pioneer in Indo-European studies, comparative linguistics, in what became known as Grimm's law, and morphological typology. As a young man he was an atheist, a radical, and an individualist. Ten years later, the same Schlegel converted to Catholicism. Around 1810 he was a diplomat and journalist in the service of Metternich, surrounded by monks and pious men of society.

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