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Mit leisen Harfentönen

Language: German (Deutsch)

Mit leisen Harfentönen
Sey, Wehmuth, mir gegrüßt!
O Nymphe, die der Thränen
Geweihten Quell verschließt!
Mich weht an deiner Schwelle
Ein linder Schauer an,
Und deines Zwielichts Helle
Glimmt auf des Schicksals Bahn.

Du, so die Freude weinen,
Die Schwermuth lächeln heißt,
Kannst Wonn' und Schmerz vereinen,
Daß Harm in Lust verfleußt;
Du hellst bewölkte Lüfte
Mit Abendsonnenschein,
Hängst Lampen in die Grüfte
Und krönst den Leichenstein.

Du nahst, wenn schon die Klage
Den Busen sanfter dehnt,
Der Gram an Sarkophage
Die müden Schläfe lehnt;
[Wenn]1 die Geduld gelassen
Sich an die Hoffnung schmiegt,
Der [Zähren Thau]2 im nassen,
Schmerzlosen Blick versiegt.

Du, die auf Blumenleichen
Des Tiefsinns Wimper senkt,
Bey blätterlosen Sträuchen
Der Blüthenzeit gedenkt;
In Florens bunte Kronen
Ein dunkles Veilchen webt,
Und still, mit Alcyonen,
[Um Schiffbruchstrümmer]3 schwebt.

O du, die sich so gerne
Zurück zur Kindheit träumt,
Selbst ihr Gewölk von Ferne
Mit Sonnengold besäumt:
Was [uns]4 Erinn'rung schildert
Mit [stillem Glanz]5 verbrämt,
Der Trennung Qualen mildert,
Und die Verzweiflung zähmt.

Der Leidenschaften Horden,
Der Sorgen Rabenzug,
Entfliehn vor den Accorden,
Die deine Harfe schlug;
Du zauberst Alpensöhnen,
Verbannt auf Flanderns Moor,
Mit Sennenreigen-Tönen
Der Heimath Bilder vor.

In deinen Schattenhallen
Weihst du die Sänger ein;
Lehrst junge Nachtigallen
Die Trauer-Melodey'n;
Du neigst, wo Gräber grünen,
Dein Ohr zu Hölty's Ton;
Pflückst Moos von Burgruinen
Mit meinem Matthisson.

[Rühr']6 unter Thränenweiden
[Noch oft mein Saitenspiel;]7
Verschmilz' auch Gram und Leiden
In süßes Nachgefühl;
[Gib]8 Stärkung dem Erweichten!
Heb' aus dem Trauerflor,
Wenn Gottes Sterne leuchten,
Den Andachtsblick empor!

Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE

List of language codes

F. Schubert sets stanzas 1-3

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von J. G. von Salis. Gesammelt durch seinen Freund Friedrich Matthisson. Zürich, bey Orell, Gessner, Füssli und Compagnie. 1793, pages 14-17; and with Gedichte von J. G. von Salis. Neueste Auflage. Wien 1815. Bey B. Ph. Bauer, pages 120-122.

1 Salis (1793 edition): "Bis"
2 Salis (1793 edition): "Zähren-Thau"
3 Salis (1793 edition): "Ob Schiffbruchstrümmern"
4 Salis (1793 edition): "ihr"
5 Salis (1793 edition): "Westkarmin"
6 Salis (1793 edition): "Führ"
7 Salis (1793 edition): "O Nymfe, mich zum Ziel!"
8 Salis (1793 edition): "Sei"

Submitted by Richard Morris and Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2017-12-21 04:43:39
Line count: 64
Word count: 252

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With gentle notes on the harp

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

With gentle notes on the harp
Let me greet you, melancholy!
Oh nymph, you who control tears
And lock up their consecrated source!
On your threshold I feel
A gentle shudder go through me,
And the brightness of your twilight
Glows over the course of destiny.

You, just as you cause people to weep at joy
And see melancholy as something to smile about,
Can unite pleasure and pain,
So that grief can turn into delight;
You brighten cloudy skies
With evening sunshine,
You hang lamps in vaults
And you crown the gravestone.

You approach whenever laments have already
Extended the breast more gently,
Whenever sorrow by the sarcophagus
Presses on tired temples;
When patience allows itself
To snuggle up to hope,
The wet dew of tears 
Dries up and vision becomes painless.

You, who look down at the corpses of flowers
As deep thoughts lower the eyelids,
When you see bushes without leaves
You think of the time when they are in blossom;
Into Flora's bright crown
A dark violet is woven,
And quietly, with Alcyone,
It hovers around shipwrecks.

Oh you, who so keenly
Dream about the former days of childhood,
You even take those distant clouds
And give them a golden lining from the sun:
Whatever memory presents to us
Is glossed over with a quiet radiance,
The agonies of separation are softened
And despair is brought under control.

The hordes of sorrow,
The crow-black train of care,
Fly off at the chords
Plucked from your harp;
You enchant the sons of the Alps
Banished to the moorlands of Flanders
With the notes of cowherds' songs
That offer images from home.

In your shaded halls
You initiate singers;
You teach young nightingales
The melodies of mourning;
Where graves turn green you bend
Your ear to Hölty's note;
You pluck moss from castle ruins
With my copy of Matthisson.

Under weeping willows continue to touch
My stringed instrument frequently;
Blend both grief and sorrow
Into a sweet recollection;
Give strength to those that are touched!
Look up from the flowers of mourning
When God's stars are alight,
Lift your gaze in prayer!

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About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Die Herbstnacht" = "The autumn night"
"Die Wehmuth" = "Melancholy"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 by Malcolm Wren, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Text added to the website: 2017-07-20.
Last modified: 2017-07-20 18:18:01
Line count: 64
Word count: 354