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An Emma D113

An Emma

Weit in nebelgrauer Ferne
Liegt mir das vergang’ne Glück,
Nur an Einem schönen Sterne
Weilt mit Liebe noch der Blick.
Aber, wie des Sternes Pracht,
Ist es nur ein Schein der Nacht.
Deckte dir der lange Schlummer,
Dir der Tod die Augen zu,
Dich besässe doch mein Kummer,
Meinem Herzen lebtest du.
Aber ach! du lebst im Licht,
Meiner Liebe lebst du nicht.
Kann der Liebe süss Verlangen,
Emma, kann’s vergänglich sein?
Was dahin ist und vergangen,
Emma, kann’s die Liebe sein?
Ihrer Flamme Himmelsglut
Stirbt sie, wie ein irdisch Gut?

To Emma

Far in the grey, misty distance
lies my past happiness.
My eyes still linger lovingly
on one fair star alone.
But, like that star’s splendour,
it is merely an illusion of the night.
If the prolonged slumber
of death closed your eyes
my sorrow would still possess you;
you would live in my heart.
But, alas, you live in the light
yet you do not live for my love.
Emma, can love’s sweet longing
pass away?
That which is over and past, Emma,
can that be love?
Does the celestial ardour of its flame
perish like worldly goods?
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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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 Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents to their philosophical vision.

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