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Romanze (1814) D114


Ein Fräulein klagt’ im finstern Turm,
Am Seegestad’ erbaut.
Es rauscht’ und heulte Wog’ und Sturm
In ihres Jammers Laut.
Rosalie von Montanvert
Hiess manchem Troubadour
Und einem ganzen Ritterheer
Dir Krone der Natur.
Doch ehe noch ihr Herz die Macht
Der süssen Minn’ empfand,
Erlag der Vater in der Schlacht
Am Sarazenenstrand.
Der Ohm, ein Ritter Manfry, ward
Zum Schirmvogt ihr bestellt;
Dem lacht’ ins Herz, wie Felsen hart,
Des Fräuleins Gut und Geld.
Bald überall im Lande ging
Die Trauerkund’ umher:
„Des Todes kalte Nacht umfing
Die Rose Montanvert.“
Ein schwarzes Totenfähnlein wallt’
Hoch auf des Fräuleins Burg;
Die dumpfe Leichenglocke schallt
Drei Tag’ und Nächt’ hindurch.
Auf ewig bin, auf ewig tot,
O Rose Montanvert!
Nun milderst du der Witwe Not,
Der Waise Schmerz nicht mehr!
So klagt einmütig alt und jung,
Den Blick von Thränen schwer,
Von Frührot bis zur Dämmerung,
Die Rose Montanvert.
Der Ohm in einem Turm sie barg,
Erfüllt mit Moderduft!
Drauf senkte man den leeren Sarg
Wohl in der Väter Gruft.
Das Fräulein horchte still und bang
Der Priester Litanei’n,
Trüb in des Kerkers Gitter drang
Der Fackeln roter Schein.
Sie ahnte schaudernd ihr Geschick;
Ihr ward so dumpf, ihr ward so schwer,
In Todesnacht er starb ihr Blick;
Sie sank und war nicht mehr.
Des Turms Ruinen an der See
Sind heute noch zu schaun;
Den Wandrer fasst in ihrer Näh’
Ein wundersames Graun.
Auch mancher Hirt verkündet euch,
Dass er bei Nacht allda
Oft, einer Silberwolke gleich,
Das Fräulein schweben sah.


A maiden wept in a dark tower
built on the sea shore.
Waves and storm rushed and howled
through her cries of grief.
RRosalie of Montanvert
was, for many a troubadour
and a whole host of knights,
the crown of nature.
But before her heart
had felt the power of sweet love,
her father died in battle
on the Saracen shore.
Her uncle, a knight named Manfry,
was appointed her guardian;
in his rock hard heart he rejoiced
at the maiden’s gold and wealth.
Soon the sorrowful news
spread throughout the land:
‘The cold night of death has enveloped
Rose Montanvert.’
A black flag of death flew
high over the maiden’s castle;
the muffled death-knell sounded
for three days and three nights.
Gone for ever, dead for ever,
O Rose Montanvert!
No longer will you soothe the widow’s distress,
the orphan’s sorrow.
Thus, from dawn till dusk,
their eyes heavy with tears,
young and old with one voice
mourned Rose Montanvert.
Her uncle hid her in a tower,
filled with the stench of decay!
Then the empty coffin was lowered
into her ancestors’ vault.
In fear and silence the maiden heard
the priests’ litanies;
the red gleam of the torches
penetrated dimly through the prison bars.
With foreboding she guessed her fate;
her senses grew dull and heavy;
her eyes faded in the darkness of death;
she sank down, and was no more.
The ruins of the tower by the sea
are still to be seen today;
as he draws near,
the traveller is gripped by a strange dread.
And many a shepherd will tell you
how, at night,
he has often seen the maiden
hovering there like a silver cloud.
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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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 von Matthisson was a German poet, an early member of the German Romantic movement. His best known poem is probably Adelaide, which was set to music by Beethoven.

He was born at Hohendodeleben near Magdeburg, the son of the village pastor, on the 23rd of January 1761. After studying theology and philology at the university of Halle, he was appointed in 1781 master at the classical school Philanthropinum in Dessau. This once famous seminary was, however, then rapidly decaying in public favor, and in 1784 Matthisson was glad to accept a travelling tutorship. He lived for two years with the Swiss author Bonstetten at Nyon on Lake Geneva.

In 1794 he was appointed reader and traveling companion to Princess Louisa of Anhalt-Dessau (wife of Leopold III, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau). They visited Switzerland, Tyrol, and Italy. For a time, they were joined in their travels by Danish author and salonist Friederike Brun. After Princess Louisa's death in 1811, he entered the service of the king of Württemberg, was ennobled, created counselor of legation, appointed intendant of the court theatre and chief librarian of the royal library at Stuttgart. He resided for a time in Italy. In 1828 he retired and settled at Wörlitz near Dessau, where he died on the 12th of March 1831.

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