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Songs

Epistel ‘An Herrn Josef von Spaun, Assessor in Linz’

by Franz Schubert

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Epistel ‘An Herrn Josef von Spaun, Assessor in Linz’
German source: Heinrich Joseph von Collin

Und nimmer schreibst du?
Bleibest uns verloren,
Ein starr Verstummter,
Nun für ew’ge Zeit?
Vielleicht, weil neue Freunde du erkoren?
Wardst du Assessor denn am Tisch so breit,
Woran beim Aktenstoss seufzt Langeweile,
Um abzusterben aller Freudigkeit?
Doch nein, nur wir sind’s.
Nur uns ward zuteile
Dies Schweigen, dies Verstummen und Vergessen.
Armut und Not selbst an der kleinsten Zeile!
Für jeden bist du schriftkarg nicht gesessen;
Für manchen kamen Briefe angeflogen,
Und nach der Elle hast du sie gemessen;
Doch uns, Barbar, hast du dein Herz entzogen!

Schwingt euch kühn, zu bange Klagen,
Aus empörter Brust hervor,
Und, von Melodien getragen,
Wagt euch an des fernen Ohr!
Was er immer mag erwidern,
Dieses hier saget doch:
„Zwar vergessen, jenes Biedern
Denken wir in Liebe noch!“

Epistle 'To Herr Josef von Spaun, Taxman in Linz'
English translation © Richard Wigmore

And do you never write?
Are you lost to us
for all time,
struck dumb?
Perhaps because you have found new friends?
Or have you become a taxman, sitting at a vast desk,
sighing with boredom at your heap of files,
in order to forgo all joy?
Of course not, it’s just us.
Only we have been granted
this silence, this muteness, this forgetfulness.
There is a dire lack of even the smallest line.
Not for everyone have you been miserly with
your pen; for many letters have streamed in,
and you have surely measured them by the yard. But
from us, barbarian, you have withdrawn your heart!

Anxious plaints, soar boldly
from our incensed hearts
and, borne aloft by melodies,
dare to approach his distant ear.
Whatever he may retort
tell him this:
‘Though we are forgotten,
we still think lovingly of the good fellow!’

Epistel ‘An Herrn Josef von Spaun, Assessor in Linz’
German source: Heinrich Joseph von Collin

Epistle 'To Herr Josef von Spaun, Taxman in Linz'
English source: Richard Wigmore

Und nimmer schreibst du?
And do you never write?
Bleibest uns verloren,
Are you lost to us
Ein starr Verstummter,
for all time,
Nun für ew’ge Zeit?
struck dumb?
Vielleicht, weil neue Freunde du erkoren?
Perhaps because you have found new friends?
Wardst du Assessor denn am Tisch so breit,
Or have you become a taxman, sitting at a vast desk,
Woran beim Aktenstoss seufzt Langeweile,
sighing with boredom at your heap of files,
Um abzusterben aller Freudigkeit?
in order to forgo all joy?
Doch nein, nur wir sind’s.
Of course not, it’s just us.
Nur uns ward zuteile
Only we have been granted
Dies Schweigen, dies Verstummen und Vergessen.
this silence, this muteness, this forgetfulness.
Armut und Not selbst an der kleinsten Zeile!
There is a dire lack of even the smallest line.
Für jeden bist du schriftkarg nicht gesessen;
Not for everyone have you been miserly with
Für manchen kamen Briefe angeflogen,
your pen; for many letters have streamed in,
Und nach der Elle hast du sie gemessen;
and you have surely measured them by the yard. But
Doch uns, Barbar, hast du dein Herz entzogen!
from us, barbarian, you have withdrawn your heart!

Schwingt euch kühn, zu bange Klagen,
Anxious plaints, soar boldly
Aus empörter Brust hervor,
from our incensed hearts
Und, von Melodien getragen,
and, borne aloft by melodies,
Wagt euch an des fernen Ohr!
dare to approach his distant ear.
Was er immer mag erwidern,
Whatever he may retort
Dieses hier saget doch:
tell him this:
„Zwar vergessen, jenes Biedern
‘Though we are forgotten,
Denken wir in Liebe noch!“
we still think lovingly of the good fellow!’

Composer

Franz Schubert

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…

Poet

Heinrich Joseph von Collin

Heinrich Joseph von Collin, Austrian dramatist, was born in Vienna, on 26 December 1771. He received a legal education and entered the Austrian ministry of finance where he found speedy promotion. In 1805 and in 1809, when Austria was under the heel…

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