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Der Rattenfänger (1815) D255

Der Rattenfänger

Ich bin der wohlbekannte Sänger,
Der vielgereiste Rattenfänger,
Den diese altberühmte Stadt
Gewiss besonders nötig hat.
Und wären’s Ratten noch so viele,
Und wären Wiesel mit im Spiele,
Von allen säubr’ ich diesen Ort,
Sie müssen miteinander fort.
Dann ist der gutgelaunte Sänger
Mitunter auch ein Kinderfänger,
Der selbst die wildesten bezwingt,
Wenn er die goldnen Märchen singt.
Und wären Knaben noch so trutzig,
Und wären Mädchen noch so stutzig,
In meine Saiten greif’ ich ein,
Sie müssen alle hinterdrein.
Dann ist der vielgewandte Sänger
Gelegentlich ein Mädchenfänger;
In keinem Städtchen langt er an,
Wo er’s nicht mancher angetan.
Und wären Mädchen noch so blöde,
Und wären Weiber noch so spröde,
Doch allen wird so liebebang
Bei Zaubersaiten und Gesang.

The Rat-Catcher

I am the well-known singer,
the much-travelled rat-catcher,
of whom this famous old city
certainly has special need.
However many rats there are,
and even if there are weasels too,
I’ll clear the place of them all;
they must go, every single one.
Now, this good-humoured singer
is also occasionally a child-catcher,
who can tame even the most unruly
when he sings his golden tales.
However defiant the boys,
however suspicious the girls,
when I pluck my strings
they must all follow me.
Now, this versatile singer
is occasionally a catcher of girls.
He never enters a town
without captivating many.
However shy the girls,
and however aloof the ladies,
they all become lovesick
at the sound of his magic lute and his singing.

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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 Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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