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Der Schiffer (1817) D536

Der Schiffer

Im Winde, im Sturme befahr’ ich den Fluss,
Die Kleider durchweichet der Regen im Guss;
Ich peitsche die Wellen mit mächtigem Schlag,
Erhoffend mir heiteren Tag.
Die Wellen, sie jagen das ächzende Schiff,
Es drohet der Strudel, es drohet der Riff,
Gesteine entkollern den felsigen Höh’n,
Und Tannen erseufzen wie Geistergestöh’n.
So musste es kommen, ich hab’ es gewollt,
Ich hasse ein Leben behaglich entrollt;
Und schlängen die Wellen den ächzenden Kahn,
Ich priese doch immer die eigene Bahn.
Drum tose des Wassers ohnmächtige Zorn,
Dem Herzen entquillet ein seliger Born,
Die Nerven erfrischend, o himmlische Lust,
Dem Sturme zu trotzen mit männlicher Brust!

The boatman

In wind and storm I row on the river,
my clothes are soaked by the pouring rain;
I lash the waves with powerful strokes,
hoping for a fine day.
The waves drive the creaking boat,
whirlpool and reef threaten:
rocks roll down from the craggy heights,
and fir trees sigh like moaning ghosts.
It had to come to this, I wished it so;
I hate a life that unfolds comfortably.
And if the waves devoured the creaking boat,
I would still extol my chosen course.
So let the waters roar with impotent rage;
a fountain of bliss gushes from my heart,
refreshing my nerves. O celestial joy,
to defy the storm with a manly heart!
Translation by Richard Wigmore

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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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