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Der Schatzgräber (1815) D256

Der Schatzgräber

Arm am Beutel, krank am Herzen,
Schleppt’ ich meine langen Tage.
Armut ist die grösste Plage,
Reichtum ist das höchste Gut!
Und zu enden meine Schmerzen,
Ging ich einen Schatz zu graben.
„Meine Seele sollst du haben!“
Schrieb ich hin mit eignem Blut.
Und so zog ich Kreis’ um Kreise,
Stellte wunderbare Flammen,
Kraut und Knochenwerk zusammen:
Die Beschwörung war vollbracht.
Und auf die gelernte Weise
Grub ich nach dem alten Schatze,
Auf dem angezeigten Platze;
Schwarz und stürmisch war die Nacht.
Und ich sah ein Licht von weiten;
Und es kam, gleich einem Sterne,
Hinten aus der fernsten Ferne,
Eben als es Zwölfe schlug.
Und da galt kein Vorbereiten.
Heller ward’s mit einemmale
Von dem Glanz der vollen Schale,
Die ein schöner Knabe trug.
Holde Augen sah ich blinken
Unter dichtem Blumenkranze;
In des Trankes Himmelsglanze
Trat er in den Kreis herein.
Und er hiess mich freundlich trinken;
Und ich dacht’: es kann der Knabe
Mit der schönen lichten Gabe,
Wahrlich nicht der Böse sein.
Trinke Mut des reinen Lebens!
Dann verstehst du die Belehrung,
Kommst, mit ängstlicher Beschwörung,
Nicht zurück an diesen Ort.
Grabe hier nicht mehr vergebens:
Tages Arbeit! Abends Gäste!
Saure Wochen! Frohe Feste!
Sei dein künftig Zauberwort.

The Treasure-seeker

Empty of purse, sick of heart,
I dragged out my long days.
Poverty is the greatest ill,
wealth the highest good.
And to end my suffering
I went to dig for treasure.
‘You shall have my soul!’
I wrote in my own blood.
I drew circle upon circle,
and mixed herbs and bones
in magic flames:
the spell was cast.
In the decreed manner
and in the appointed place
I dug for the old treasure;
the night was black and stormy.
I saw a far-off light;
it came like a star
from the remote distance
on the stroke of twelve.
Then, without warning,
it suddenly grew brighter
from the radiance of the filled cup
borne by a fair youth.
I saw his kindly eyes sparkling
beneath a close-woven garland of flowers;
in the potion’s celestial glow
he stepped into the circle.
Graciously he bade me drink;
and I thought: that boy
with his fair, shining gift
can surely not be the Devil.
Drink the courage of pure life!
Then you will understand my words,
and never, with anxious incantation,
return to this place.
Dig here no more in vain;
work by day, conviviality in the evening,
weeks of toil and joyous holidays!
Let this from now on be your magic spell.

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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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