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Liebesfrühling (1853) JB 1:53

Liebesfrühling

Dieses Saitenspiel der Brust
Das du hast so reich besaitet,
Fassen lehre mich die Lust,
Himmel! daß du’s mir bereitet.
Diese Seele, rein gestimmt,
Himmelsnachhall in den Tiefen;
Jeder leise Ton verschwimmt,
Als ob Engel Engel riefen.
Freilich ist das ein Gesang,
Aber keiner durch die Kehle,
Sondern Liebesüberschwang
Aus dem Himmel, aus der Seele.
Diesem schweigenden Gesang
Müssen Mienen und Geberden,
Blicke, Lächeln, Worte, Sang,
Dienend lauter Töne werden.
Wach, o feuchter Hauch der Welt,
Diese Saiten nie erschlaffen!
Doch die Seele, die sie schwellt,
Hat auch Kraft, sie neu zu straffen!
Ja du bist so hell gestimmt,
Wie des Abendsternes Laute,
Dem vorbei die Wolke schwimmt,
Wie der Gram an dir zerthaute.
Diese Harfe Gottes, die
Dieß mein Herz mit sich versöhnet,
Ihm mit ew’ger Melodie
Liebe, Liebe, Liebe tönet!
Dieses Psalter, das allein
Vorbild sei für Freimunds Leier,
Alle Welt zu laden ein
Zu der ew’gen Liebesfeier!
Himmel! Gib mir das zum Lohn,
Daß mein Lieben, daß mein Singen
Nie müss’ einen falschen Ton
In die reinen Saiten bringen.

Love in springtime

These strings of the breast,
That you have so richly strung,
Teach me, O heaven,
The joy of playing it.
This breast, purely tuned,
With echoes of heaven in the bass;
Every soft tone grows blurred,
As if angels were summoning angels.
To be sure – that is song,
But it does not issue from the throat,
Rather does this exuberance of love
Come from heaven, from the soul.
Expressions and gestures,
Looks, smiles, words, gait
Must serve this silent song
By becoming pure sound.
Never, o moist breath of the world,
Let these strings grow slack!
But the soul that they swell
Also has the strength to tighten them anew!
Yes, you are as brightly tuned
As the lute of the evening star
That the cloud floats by,
As the grief that melted.
This harp of God that reconciles
My heart with itself,
Sounding with its eternal melody
Love, love, love!
This psalter that alone
Is a model for Freimund’s lyre,
Inviting every creature
To the eternal celebration of love!
O heaven – reward me with all this
That my loving, that my singing
Might never strike a false note
On these pure strings.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Bedřich Smetana 2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer, regarded by many in his homeland as the father of Czech music.


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Poet

Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.

Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816–1817, he worked on the editorial staff of the Morgenblatt at Stuttgart. Nearly the whole of the year 1818 he spent in Rome, and afterwards he lived for several years at Coburg (1820–1826). Rückert married Luise Wiethaus-Fischer there in 1821. He was appointed a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Erlangen in 1826, and, in 1841, he was called to a similar position in Berlin, where he was also made a privy councillor. In 1849 he resigned his professorship at Berlin, and went to live full-time in his Gut (estate) at Neuses (now a part of Coburg).

When Rückert began his literary career, Germany was engaged in her life-and-death struggle with Napoleon; and in his first volume, Deutsche Gedichte (German Poems), published in 1814 under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar, he gave, particularly in the powerful Geharnischte Sonette (Sonnets in Arms/Harsh Words), vigorous expression to the prevailing sentiment of his countrymen. During 1815 to 1818 appeared Napoleon, eine politische Komödie in drei Stücken (Napoleon, a Political Comedy in Three Parts) of which only two parts were published; and in 1817 Der Kranz der Zeit (The Wreath of Time).

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