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Der Pilgrim (1823) D794

Der Pilgrim

Noch in meines Lebens Lenze
War ich, und ich wandert’ aus,
Und der Jugend frohe Tänze
Liess ich in des Vaters Haus.
All mein Erbteil, meine Habe,
Warf ich fröhlich glauben hin,
Und am leichten Pilgerstabe
Zog ich fort mit Kindersinn.
Denn mich trieb ein mächtig Hoffen
Und ein dunkles Glaubenswort,
„Wandle,“ rief’s, „der Weg ist offen,
Immer nach dem Aufgang fort.
„Bis zu einer goldnen Pforten
Du gelangst, da gehst du ein,
Denn das Irdische wird dorten
Himmlisch, unvergänglich sein.“
Abend ward’s und wurde Morgen,
Nimmer, nimmer stand ich still,
Aber immer blieb’s verborgen,
Was ich suche, was ich will.
Berge lagen mir im Wege,
Ströme hemmten meinen Fuss,
Über Schlünde baut ich Stege,
Brücken durch den wilden Fluss.
Und zu eines Stroms Gestaden
Kam ich, der nach Morgen floss;
Froh vertrauend seinem Faden,
Warf ich mich in seinen Schoss.
Hin zu einem grossen Meere
Trieb mich seiner Wellen Spiel;
Vor mir liegt’s in weiter Leere,
Näher bin ich nicht dem Ziel.
Ach, kein Weg will dahin führen,
Ach, der Himmel über mir
Will die Erde nicht berühen,
Und das Dort ist niemals hier!

The Pilgrim

I was still in the springtime of my life
when I journeyed forth
and left the merry dances of youth
in my father’s house.
All my inheritance, all my possessions
I cast away in cheerful faith,
and with childlike heart
set off with my light pilgrim’s staff.
For a mighty hope drove me on,
and a dark word of faith.
‘Journey onwards,’ came the cry, ‘the way is open,
ever onwards toward the east.
‘Until you reach a golden gate;
there you will enter.
For there earthly things
become celestial, immortal.’
Evening came, and morning;
never, never did I stop.
Yet what I seek, what I long for,
always remained hidden.
Mountains loomed in my path,
rivers checked my step;
I built bridges over the abyss
and across the turbulent river.
And I came to the bank of a river
that flowed eastwards.
Joyfully trusting to its current
I threw myself upon its bosom.
The play of its waves
bore me to a great ocean;
it lies before me in its vast emptiness.
I am no nearer my goal.
Ah, no way will take me there;
ah, the sky above me
will not touch the earth,
and the There is never here!

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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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