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O ewiger Gott! O göttliches Gesicht! (1911)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann 

O ewiger Gott! O göttliches Gesicht!

O ewiger Gott ! O göttliches Gesicht !
O rechter Weg ! O himmliches Licht !
Hier schrei ich zu dir in letzter Stund,
Ein Klageruf geht aus meinem Mund.
O mein Erlöser, den Schöpfer webitt,
Dass er beim Ende mir gnädig sei,
Wenn der höllische Feind sich drängt herbei,
Und der Tod mir grausam die Kehle zuschnürt,
Dass er meine Seel dann hinaufführt.
Und Heiland, mach durch deine Fürbitt,
Dass ich zu seiner Rechten hintritt,
In seine Glorie mit ihm zu gehn.
Lass dir dies mein Gebet anstehn,
Um willen, dass du am Kreuz bist gestorben,
Und hast all unsre Seelen erworben.

O eternal God! O divine countenance!

O eternal God! O divine countenance!
O path of righteousness! O heavenly light!
I cry to Thee in my final hour,
My lips utter a plaintive cry.
O my Redeemer, beseech my Maker
That He show me grace when my end is nigh,
When the hellish foe gathers near
And Death cruelly tightens the noose,
May He lead my soul to Heaven.
And Thou, my Saviour, intercede for me
That I might sit at His right hand,
That I might walk with Him in glory,
Mayest Thou hear my prayer,
Since Thou didst die upon the cross
And didst redeem all our souls.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Frank Martin was a Swiss composer, who lived a large part of his life in the Netherlands.

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Hugo Laurenz August Hofmann von Hofmannsthal (1 February 1874 – 15 July 1929) was an Austrian prodigy, a novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist. He became internationally famous through his work with Richard Strauss.

The only child of a bank director, Hofmannsthal studied law at Vienna. At 16 he published his first poems, under the pseudonym Loris. They created a stir in Vienna and in Germany with their lyrical beauty, magic evocativeness of language, and dreamlike quality. Their anticipation of mature experience and formal virtuosity seem incredible in one so young. After his year of compulsory military service, he studied Romance philology with a view to an academic career but in 1901 married and became a free-lance writer.

Between 1891 and 1899 Hofmannsthal wrote a number of short verse plays, influenced by the static dramas of the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck, the dramatic monologues of the English Romantic poet Robert Browning, and the proverbes dramatiques of the French poet Alfred de Musset. Of the same exquisite beauty as the poems, these playlets are lyric reflections on appearance and reality, transience and timelessness, and continuity and change within the human personality—themes constantly recurring in his later works. After the turn of the century, however, Hofmannsthal renounced purely lyrical forms in his essay “Ein Brief” (also called “Chandos Brief,” 1902). This essay was more than the revelation of a personal predicament; it has come to be recognized as symptomatic of the crisis that undermined the esthetic Symbolist movement of the end of the century. You can read it here in German or English. 

Read more about Hofmannsthal, as well as some of his poetry in English, here. You can find an extensive collection of his poetry in the original German here, on 

Information taken from Wikipedia and Encycolpedia Brittanica. For the full Wikipedia article, click here. For the full Encyclopedia Brittannica entry, click here.

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