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Songs

Ritter Toggenburg (1816) D397

Ritter Toggenburg

„Ritter, treue Schwesterliebe
Widmet euch dies Herz,
Fordert keine andre Liebe,
Denn es macht mir Schmerz.
Ruhig mag ich euch erscheinen,
Ruhig gehen sehn;
Eurer Augen stilles Weinen
Kann ich nicht verstehn.“
Und er hört’s mit stummem Harme,
Reisst sich blutend los,
Presst sie heftig in die Arme,
Schwingt sich auf sein Ross,
Schickt zu seinen Mannen allen
In dem Lande Schweiz;
Nach dem heil’gen Grab sie wallen,
Auf der Brust das Kreuz.
Grosse Taten dort geschehen
Durch der Helden Arm,
Ihres Helmes Büsche wehen
In der Feinde Schwarm,
Und des Toggenburgers Name
Schreckt den Muselmann,
Doch das Herz von seinem Grame
Nicht genesen kann.
Und ein Jahr hat er’s ertragen,
Trägt’s nicht länger mehr,
Ruhe kann er nicht erjagen
Und verlässt das Heer,
Sieht ein Schiff an Joppes Strande,
Das die Segel bläht,
Schiffet heim zum teuren Lande,
Wo ihr Atem weht.
Und an ihres Schlosses Pforte
Klopft der Pilger an,
Ach! und mit dem Donnerworte
Wird sie aufgetan:
„Die ihr suchet, trägt den Schleier,
Ist des Himmels Braut,
Gestern war des Tages Feier,
Der sie Gott getraut.“
Da verlässet er auf immer
Seiner Väter Schloss,
Seine Waffen sieht er nimmer,
Noch sein treues Ross,
Von der Toggenburg hernieder
Steigt er unbekannt,
Denn es deckt die edeln Glieder
Härenes Gewand.
Und erbaut sich eine Hütte
Jener Gegend nah,
Wo das Kloster aus der Mitte
Düstrer Linden sah;
Harrend von des Morgens Lichte
Bis zu Abends Schein,
Stille Hoffnung im Gesichte,
Sass er da allein.
Blickte nach dem Kloster drüben,
Blickte stundenlang
Nach dem Fenster seiner Lieben,
Bis das Fenster klang,
Bis die Liebliche sich zeigte,
Bis das teure Bild
Sich ins Tal herunter neigte,
Ruhig, engelmild.
Und dann legt’ er froh sich nieder,
Schlief getröstet ein,
Still sich freuend, wenn es wieder
Morgen würde sein.
Und so sass er viele Tage,
Sass viel Jahre lang,
Harrend ohne Schmerz und Klage
Bis das Fenster klang.
Bis die Liebliche sich zeigte,
Bis das teure Bild
Sich ins Tal herunter neigte,
Ruhig, engelmild,
Und so sass er, eine Leiche,
Eines Morgens da,
Nach dem Fenster noch das bleiche
Stille Antlitz sah.

The Knight of Toggenburg

‘Knight, this heart dedicates to you
true sisterly love;
demand no other love,
for that grieves me.
Calmly I should like to see you appear
and leave again.
I cannot understand
the silent tears in your eyes.’
And he listened with silent sorrow
tore himself away in anguish,
pressed her violently in his arms,
jumped on his horse
and sent word to all his men
in the country of Switzerland.
They made a pilgrimage to the holy sepulchre,
the cross on their breasts.
Great deeds were accomplished there
by the heroes’ might;
the plumes on their helmets
fluttered amid the teeming foe,
and the name of Toggenburg
terrified the Mussulman,
but his heart could not be cured
of its grief.
When he had endured it for one year
he could endure it no longer;
he could gain no peace,
and left his army.
He saw a ship on the shore at Joppa,
its sails billowing,
and sailed home to the beloved land
where she breathed.
And the pilgrim knocked
at the gate of her castle.
Alas, it was opened
with these shattering words:
‘She whom you seek wears the veil;
she is a bride of heaven.
Yesterday was the day of the ceremony
that wedded her to God.’
Thereupon he left
the castle of his fathers for ever.
He never again saw his weapons
or his trusty steed.
He descended from Toggenburg
unrecognized,
for a hair shirt
covered his noble limbs.
And he built himself a hut
near to the place
where the convent looked out
from amid sombre linden trees;
waiting from the light of dawn
to the glow of evening
with silent hope on his face,
he sat there alone.
He gazed across at the convent –
gazed for hours on end
at his beloved’s window,
until the window rattled,
until his sweetheart appeared;
until her dear form
bent down towards the valley,
tranquil and as gentle as an angel.
And then he lay down happily
and fell asleep, comforted,
silently looking forward to when
it would be morning again.
Thus he sat for many days,
for many long years,
waiting without sorrow or complaint
until the window rattled.
Until his sweetheart appeared,
until her dear form
bent down towards the valley,
tranquil and as gentle as an angel.
And thus he sat there one morning,
a corpse,
his pale, silent face
still gazing at the window.
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

Composer

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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Poet

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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