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Philoktet (1817) D540


Da sitz ich ohne Bogen und starre in den Sand.
Was tat ich dir Ulysses, dass du sie mir entsandt?
Die Waffe, die den Trojern des Todes Bote war,
Die auf der wüsten Insel mir Unterhalt gebar.
Es rauschen Vögelschwärme mir über’m greisen Haupt;
Ich greife nach dem Bogen, umsonst, er ist geraubt!
Aus dichtem Busche raschelt der braune Hirsch hervor:
Ich strecke leere Arme zur Nemesis empor.
Du schlauer König, scheue der Göttin Rächerblick!
Erbarme dich und stelle den Bogen mir zurück.


I sit here without my bow, staring at the sand.
What did I do to you, Ulysses, that you took from me the weapon that was the harbinger of death to the Trojans,
that gave me sustenance on this desolate island?
Flocks of birds sweep over my grey head;
I reach for my bow: in vain, it has been stolen.
The brown stag rushes from the dense thicket;
I stretch bare arms up to Nemesis.
Cunning king, beware the vengeful goddess’s gaze!
Take pity and restore to me my bow.

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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 Baptist Mayrhofer , was an Austrian poet and librettist. He is best known for his close friendship with the composer Franz Schubert.

Mayrhofer was born in Steyr, educated and Novitiate in St. Florian's Priory Upper Austria. In 1810 he began to study Jurisprudence and Theology at the University of Vienna, both of which courses he finished. In 1814 he met the young composer Franz Schubert and his friends (Joseph von Spaun, Franz von Schober).

Mayrhofer wrote a lot of lyric poetry and published it in 1824.

47 Schubert songs and two of his operas are based on Mayrhofer’s lyric poems.

As a young man Mayrhofer had been hopelessly in love with Mina (Wilhelmina Watteroth), the daughter of Heinrich Watteroth, who was one of Mayrhofer's professors and for a short time also his landlord. In his late years Mayrhofer (like Schubert) fell in love with a young 15-year-old girl, the daughter of his landlord Doctor Strauss. Mayrhofer, who had been a hypochondriac all his life, committed suicide by jumping from the window of his office in Vienna.

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