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Die Flüchtlinge (1852) Op. 122 no.2

Part of a series or song cycle:

Zwei Balladen, declamations (Op. 122)

Die Flüchtlinge

Der Hagel klirrt nieder,
Es leuchten die Wogen,
Die Blitze sprühen,
Der Schaum kommt geflogen—
Fort, fort, fort!
Der Donner laut kracht,
Die Wälder stöhnen,
Der Sturmwind braust,
Die Glocken ertönen!
Fort, fort, fort!
Die Erd’, gleich dem Meere
Wankt trümmerbedeckt,
Thier und Mensch sind entfloh’n,
Von dem Sturm erschreckt—
Fort, fort, fort!
Er „Der Steuermann erbleicht,
Nur ein Segel hat’s Boot,
Wer zu folgen wagte,
Wär’ ein kühner Pilot!“
Sie „Greif’ kühn zum Ruder,
Stoss vom Gestad!“
Und Hagel und Kugeln
Bestreu’n den Pfad
Über’s Meer.
Die Leuchtfeuer glüh’n
Von Klippen und Thurm,
Das Geschütz stumm blitzt,
Erstickt von dem Sturm
Von seewärts her!
Er „Und siehst Du und hörst Du?
Und banget Dein Sinn?
Und jagen wir frei nicht
Das Meer dahin,
Ich und Du?“
Ein Schiffsmantel deckt
Die Liebenden beide;
Ihr Herz schlägt vereint
In stolzer Freude,
Sie flüstern sich zu.
In dem Schlosshof, neben
Der Pförtnerin, gleich
Geschlagenem Bluthund,
Steht der Bräutigam, bleich
Vor Scham.
Ein todtkündend Gespenst
Steht auf oberstem Thurm
Ein Greis, und vor seiner
Stimme der Sturm
Auf die Letzte und die Schönste
Seines Stammes zur Stunde
Einen Fluch er ruft,
Wie aus Vaters Munde
Nie kam.

The Fugitives

The hail is rattling,
The waves are flashing,
The lightnings are glancing,
The foam is flying—
The loud thunder is tolling,
The woods are all groaning,
The whirlwind is roaring,
The bells are ringing—
The earth is like the ocean,
Wreck-strewn and in motion,
Man and beast have fled,
Frightened by the storm—
He ‘The helmsman is pale,
The boat has but one sail,
He would be a bold pilot
To follow us now!’
She ‘Ply the oar,
Put off boldly from shore!’
And hails and bolts
Speck their path
Over the sea.
The beacons gleam
From the rock and the tower,
The cannons flash mutely,
Stifled by the storm
From the lee.
He ‘And can you see, can you hear?
And are you afraid?
And do we not journey free
Over the sea,
You and I?’
A boat-cloak covered
The loved and the lover;
Their heart beats one measure,
They murmur proud pleasure
Soft and low.
In the court of the fortress
Beside the portress, like
A bloodhound well beaten,
The bridegroom stands, pale
With shame.
On the topmost watch-turret,
As a death-boding spirit,
Stands the old man, and to his
Voice the storm seems
And with oaths as wild
As any uttered by a father,
He curses
The loveliest and last
Of his name!
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Robert Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.

Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as KinderszenenAlbum für die JugendBlumenstück, the Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.

In 1840, Schumann married Friedrich Wieck's daughter Clara, against the wishes of her father, following a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career as a pianist, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.

Schumann suffered from a lifelong mental disorder, first manifesting itself in 1833 as a severe melancholic depressive episode, which recurred several times alternating with phases of ‘exaltation’ and increasingly also delusional ideas of being poisoned or threatened with metallic items. After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted to amental asylum, at his own request, in Endenich near Bonn. Diagnosed with "psychotic melancholia", Schumann died two years later in 1856 without having recovered from his mental illness.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded by some as among the finest lyric, as well as epic, poets in the English language. A radical in his poetry as well as in his political and social views, Shelley did not see fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron; Leigh Hunt; Thomas Love Peacock; and his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.

Shelley is perhaps best known for such classic poems as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, Music, When Soft Voices Die, The Cloud and The Masque of Anarchy. His other major works include a groundbreaking verse drama The Cenci (1819) and long, visionary poems such as Queen Mab (later reworked as The Daemon of the World), Alastor, The Revolt of Islam, Adonaïs, Prometheus Unbound (1820)—widely considered to be his masterpiece,— Hellas: A Lyrical Drama (1821), and his final, unfinished work, The Triumph of Life (1822).

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