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Die Nacht (1816) D. deest

Die Nacht

Die Nacht bricht an, mit leisen Lüften sinket,
Sie auf den müden Sterblichen herab;
Der sanfte Schlaf, des Todes Bruder, winket,
Und legt die Menschen in ihr täglich Grab.
Jetzt wachet auf der lichtberaubten Erde
Vielleicht nur noch die Arglist und der Schmerz,
Und jetzt, da ich durch nichts gestöret werde,
Lass deine Wunden bluten, armes Herz.
Du hast geliebt, du hast das Glück empfunden,
Dem jede Seligkeit auf Erden weicht.
Du hast ein Herz, das dich verstand, gefunden,
Des schönsten Glückes höchstes Ziel erreicht.
Da stürzte dich ein trostlos Machtwort nieder,
Aus deinem Himmel, und dein stilles Glück,
Das allzuschöne Traumbild kehrte wieder
Zur bessren Welt, aus der es kam, zurück.
Zerrissen sind nun all die süssen Bande,
Mich hält kein Herz mehr auf der weiten Welt.
Was ist’s, das mich in diesem wüsten Lande,
In dieser öden Einsamkeit noch hält!
Nur einen Strahl seh ich von ferne blinken,
Im Götterglanz erscheint die heil’ge Pflicht.
Und wenn des müden Geistes Kräfte sinken,
So sinkt der Mut, den sie mir einflösst, nicht.

Die Nacht

Night falls, descending with light breezes
upon weary mortals;
gentle sleep, death’s brother, beckons,
and lays men in their daily graves.
Now only malice and pain
perchance watch over the earth, robbed of light;
and now, since nothing may disturb me,
let your wounds bleed, poor heart.
You have loved; you have experienced
a happiness which eclipses all earthly bliss.
You have found a heart that understands you,
you have attained the highest goal of bliss.
Then the wretched voice of authority cast you
down from your heaven and tranquil happiness,
the all-too-lovely dream vision, returned
to the better world from which it came.
Now all the sweet bonds are torn asunder;
no heart now cherishes me
in this wasteland,
in this desolate solitude.
I see a ray of light shining from afar,
my sacred duty appears in divine radiance.
And if the strength of my weary spirit fails,
then the courage which that duty inspires in me shall not fail.

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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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Karoline Pichler, also spelled Caroline Pichler, was an Austrian novelist. She was born in Vienna to Hofrat Franz Sales von Greiner (1730–1798) and his wife Charlotte, née Hieronimus (1739–1815).

In 1796, Karoline married Andreas Pichler, a government official, and the brother of Anton Pichler, the owner of the Viennese publisher and printer A. Pichlers Witwe & Sohn. For many years her salon was the centre of the literary life in the Austrian capital, frequented by Beethoven, Schubert, Friedrich von Schlegel and Grillparzer, among many others, from 1802 to 1824. As a young girl she had met Haydn, and she was a pupil of Mozart, who regularly performed music at the Greiners' residence. She died in Vienna in 1843 and 50 years after her death was reburied at the Zentralfriedhof.

Her early works, Olivier, first published anonymously (1802), Idyllen (1803) and Ruth (1805), though displaying considerable talent, were immature. She made her mark in historical romance, and the first of her novels of this class, Agathocles (1808), an answer to Edward Gibbon's attack on that hero in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, attained great popularity. Among her other novels may be mentioned Die Belagerung Wiens (1824); Die Schweden in Prag (1827); Die Wiedereroberung Wiens (1829) and Henriette von England (1832). Her last work was Zeitbilder (1840). Her autobiography in four volumes, Denkwürdigkeiten aus meinem Leben (Memorables from my Life) was published posthumously in 1844. Pichler's Complete Works consist of 60 volumes.

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