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Wie Ulfru fisch (1817) D525

Wie Ulfru fisch

Die Angel zuckt, die Rute bebt,
Doch leicht fährt sie heraus.
Ihr eigensinn’gen Nixen gebt
Dem Fischer keinen Schmaus.
Was frommet ihm sein kluger Sinn,
Die Fische baumeln spottend hin;
Er steht am Ufer fest gebannt,
Kann nicht ins Wasser, ihn hält das Land.
Die glatte Fläche kräuselt sich, 
Vom Schuppenvolk bewegt,
Das seine Glieder wonniglich
In sichern Fluten regt.
Forellen zappeln hin und her, 
Doch bleibt des Fischers Angel leer, 
Sie fühlen, was die Freiheit ist, 
Fruchtlos ist Fischers alte List.
Die Erde ist gewaltig schön,
Doch sicher ist sie nicht.
Es senden Stürme Eiseshöh’n,
Der Hagel und der Frost zerbricht
Mit einem Schlage, einem Druck,
Das gold’ne Korn, der Rosen Schmuck; 
Den Fischlein unter’m weichen Dach, 
Kein Sturm folgt ihnen vom Lande nach.

Ulfru Fishing

The rod quivers, the line trembles, 
but it comes up easily.
You capricious water sprites
give the fisherman no feast.
What use is his cunning?
The fish glide away mockingly;
he stands spellbound on the shore,
he cannot enter the water, the land holds him fast.
The smooth surface is ruffled, 
disturbed by the scaly shoals 
that swim blithely
in the safe waters.
Trout dart to and fro,
but the fisherman’s rod stays empty;
they feel what freedom is,
the fisherman’s well tried guile is in vain.
The earth is surpassingly beautiful, 
but safe it is not.
Storms blow from the icy peaks, 
hail and frost destroy
at one stroke, with one blow,
the golden corn, the roses’ beauty;
the little fish beneath their soft roof
are pursued by no storm from the land.

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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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