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Songs

Songs

Der Zwerg (1822) D771

Der Zwerg

Im trüben Licht verschwinden schon die Berge,
Es schwebt das Schiff auf glatten Meereswogen,
Worauf die Königin mit ihrem Zwerge.
Sie schaut empor zum hochgewölbten Bogen,
Hinauf zur lichtdurchwirkten blauen Ferne;
Die mit der Milch des Himmels blass durchzogen.
„Nie, nie habt ihr mir gelogen noch, ihr Sterne,“
So ruft sie aus, „bald werd’ ich nun entschwinden,
Ihr sagt es mir, doch sterb’ ich wahrlich gerne.“
Da tritt der Zwerg zur Königin, mag binden
Um ihren Hals die Schnur von roter Seide,
Und weint, als wollt’ er schnell vor Gram erblinden.
Er spricht: „Du selbst bist schuld an diesem Leide,
Weil um den König du mich hast verlassen,
Jetzt weckt dein Sterben einzig mir noch Freude.
„Zwar werd’ ich ewiglich mich selber hassen,
Der dir mit dieser Hand den Tod gegeben,
Doch musst zum frühen Grab du nun erblassen.“
Sie legt die Hand aufs Herz voll jungem Leben,
Und aus dem Aug’ die schweren Tränen rinnen,
Das sie zum Himmel betend will erheben.
„Mögst du nicht Schmerz durch meinen Tod gewinnen!“
Sie sagt’s, da küsst der Zwerg die bleichen Wangen,
D’rauf alsobald vergehen ihr die Sinnen.
Der Zwerg schaut an die Frau, von Tod befangen,
Er senkt sie tief ins Meer mit eig’nen Handen.
Ihm brennt nach ihr das Herz so voll Verlangen,
An keiner Küste wird er je mehr landen.

The Dwarf

n the dim light the mountains already fade;
the ship drifts on the sea’s smooth swell,
with the queen and her dwarf on board.
She gazes up at the high arching vault,
at the blue distance, interwoven with light,
streaked with the pale milky way.
‘Stars, never yet have you lied to me’,
she cries out. ‘Soon now I shall be no more.
You tell me so; yet in truth I shall die gladly.’
Then the dwarf comes up to the queen, begins
to tie the cord of red silk about her neck,
and weeps, as if he would soon go blind with grief.
He speaks: ‘You are yourself to blame for this
suffering, because you have forsaken me for the king;
now your death alone can revive joy within me.
‘Though I shall forever hate myself
for having brought you death by this hand,
yet now you must grow pale for an early grave.’
She lays her hand on her heart, so full of youthful
life, and heavy tears flow from her eyes
which she would raise to heaven in prayer.
‘May you reap no sorrow from my death!’
she says; then the dwarf kisses her pale cheeks,
whereupon her senses fade.
The dwarf looks upon the lady in the grip of death;
he lowers her with his own hands deep into the sea.
His heart burns with such longing for her,
he will never again land on any shore.

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

Heinrich Joseph von Collin, Austrian dramatist, was born in Vienna, on 26 December 1771. He received a legal education and entered the Austrian ministry of finance where he found speedy promotion. In 1805 and in 1809, when Austria was under the heel of Napoleon, Collin was entrusted with important political missions. In 1803 he was, together with other members of his family, ennobled, and in 1809 made Hofrat. He died on 28 July 1811 in Vienna.

His tragedy Regulus (1801), written in strict classical form, was received with enthusiasm in Vienna, where literary taste, less advanced than that of northern Germany, was still under the ban of French classicism. But in his later dramas, Coriolan (1804), Polyxena (1804), Balboa (1806), and Bianca della Porta (1808), he made some attempt to reconcile the pseudo-classic type of tragedy with that of Shakespeare and the German romanticists. As a lyric poet (Gedichte, collected 1812), Collin has left a collection of stirring Wehrmannslieder for the fighters in the cause of Austrian freedom, as well as some excellent ballads (Kaiser Max auf der Martinswand, Herzog Leupold vor Solothurn).

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