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Der Schäfer und der Reiter (1817) D517

Der Schäfer und der Reiter

Ein Schäfer sass im Grünen,
Sein Liebchen süss im Arm;
Durch Buchenwipfel schienen
Der Sonne Strahlen warm.
Sie kosten froh und heiter
Von Liebeständelei.
Da ritt bewehrt ein Reiter
Den Glücklichen vorbei.
„Sitz ab und suche Kühle,“
Rief ihm der Schäfer zu.
„Des Mittags nahe Schwüle
Gebietet stille Ruh’.
„Noch lacht im Morgenglanze
So Strauch als Blume hier,
Und Liebchen pflückt zum Kränze
Die schönsten Blüten dir.“
Da sprach der finstre Reiter:
„Nie hält mich Wald und Flur;
Mich treibt mein Schicksal weiter,
Und ach, mein ernster Schwur.
„Ich gab mein junges Leben
Dahin um schnöden Sold.
Glück kann ich nicht erstreben
Nur höchstens Ruhm und Gold.
„Drum schnell, mein Ross, und trabe
Vorbei wo Blumen blühn,
Einst lohnt wohl Ruh’ im Grabe
Des Kämpfenden Bemühn.“

The Shepherd and the Horseman

A shepherd sat amid the greenery,
his sweetheart in his arms;
through the tops of the beech trees
shone the sun’s warm rays.
Joyfully, blithely,
they dallied and caressed.
Then a horseman, armed,
rode by the happy pair.
‘Dismount and come to the cool shade,’
the shepherd called to him.
‘The sultry midday heat approaches
and bids us rest quietly.
‘Here bush and flower
still smile in the radiant morning,
and my sweetheart will pick the loveliest flowers
to make you a garland.’
Then the gloomy rider spoke:
‘Woods and meadows can never keep me:
my fate drives me onwards,
and, ah, my solemn vow.
‘I gave up my young life
for vile money.
I can never aspire to happiness;
at best only to gold and glory.
‘Make haste then, my steed, and trot
past the flowers in bloom.
One day the peace of the grave
may reward the warrior’s toil.’

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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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Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte, Baron Fouqué was a German writer of the romantic style.

He was born at Brandenburg an der Havel, of a family of French Huguenot origin, as evidenced in his family name. His grandfather, Heinrich August de la Motte Fouqué, had been one of Frederick the Great's generals and his father was a Prussian officer. Although not originally intended for a military career, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué ultimately gave up his university studies at Halle to join the army, and he took part in the Rhine campaign of 1794. The rest of his life was devoted mainly to literary pursuits. He was introduced to August Wilhelm Schlegel, who deeply influenced him as a poet ("mich gelehret Maß und Regel | Meister August Wilhelm Schlegel") and who published Fouqué's first book, Dramatische Spiele von Pellegrin, in 1804.

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