Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Ich saß an einer Tempelhalle
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Ich saß an einer Tempelhalle
Am Musenhain, umrauscht vom nahen Wasserfalle,
Im sanften Abendschein.1
Kein Lüftchen wehte; und die Sonn' im Scheiden
Vergüldete die matten Trauerweiden.

Still sinnend saß ich lange, lange da,
Das Haupt gestützt auf meine Rechte.
Ich dachte Zukunft und Vergangenheit, und sah
Auf einem Berg, dem Thron der Götter nah,
Den Aufenthalt vom heiligen Geschlechte,
Der Sänger alt' und neuer Zeit,
An deren Liede sich die Nachwelt noch erfreut.
Tot, unbemerkt, und längst vergessen schliefen
Fern in des Tales dunkeln Tiefen
Die Götzen ihrer Zeit,
Im Riesenschatten der Vergänglichkeit.

Und langsam schwebend kam aus jenem dunkeln Tale,
Entstiegen einem morschen Heldenmahle,
Jetzt eine düstere Gestalt daher,
Und bot (in dem sie ungefähr vorüberzog)
In einer mohnbekränzten Schale
Aus Lethes Quelle mir Vergessenheit!

Betroffen, wollt ich die Erscheinung fragen:
Was dieser Trank mir nützen soll?
Doch schon war sie entflohn: ich sah's mit stillem Groll,
Denn meinen Wünschen konnt' ich nicht entsagen.

Da kam in frohem Tanz, mit zephyrleichtem Schritt,
Ein kleiner Genius2 gesprungen
Und winkt und rief mir zu: Komm mit,
Entreisse dich den bangen Dämmerungen
Sie trüben selbst der Wahrheit Sonnenschein!
Komm mit! Ich führe dich in jenen Lorbeerhain,
Wohin kein Ungeweihter je gedrungen.
Ein unverwelklich schöner Dichterkranz
Blüht dort für Dich im heitern Frühlingsglanz
Mit einem Myrtenzweig umschlungen.
Er sprach's, und ging mir schnell voran.
Ich folgte, voll Vertrauen, dem holden Jungen,
Beglückt in meinem süßen Wahn.

Es herrschte jetzt die feierlichste Stille 
Im ganzen Hain. Das langersehnte Ziel, 
Hellschimmernd sah ich's schon in ferner Schattenhülle 
Und stand, verloren ganz im Lustgefühl.
"Nimm" (sprach er jetzt) "es ist Apollons Wille.
Nimm hin dies goldne Saitenspiel!
Es hat die Kraft in schwermutsvollen Stunden
Durch seinen Zauberton zu heilen all' die Wunden,
Die Mißgesschick und fremder Wahn dir schlug."
Mit zärtlich rührenden Akkorden,
Tönt es vom Süd bis zum Norden,
Und übereilt der Zeiten schnellen Flug
Sei stolz, sei stolz auf dein Besitz! Und denke:
"Von Allem, was die Götter sterblichen verleihen,
Ist dies das höchste der Geschenke!"
Und Du wirst es nicht entweihen.

Noch nicht vertraut mit ihrer ganzen Macht,
Sang ich zuerst nur kleine Lieder;
Und Echo hallte laut und fröhlich wieder.3

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted in D. 39, replaced by an ellipsis.

Note provided by Peter Rastl: There exist two incomplete composition sketches by pre-teen Schubert, who made twice an attempt to set the Baumberg poem to music (D. 1A and D. 39). Both sketches, for the most part without lyrics, are of considerable length, but terminate abruptly right in the middle. Reinhard van Hoorickx succeeded to underlay the Baumberg text to the singing part of the sketches.

1 Schubert's text underlay in D. 39 ends here.
2 Schubert's composition fragment D. 39 breaks off here.
3 Schubert's composition fragment D. 1A presumably breaks off here.

The text shown is a variant of another text.
It is based on

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 © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Droom over het leven", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Chant en ut (Un rêve de vie)", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Ted Perry , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2018-06-30 03:16:14
Line count: 58
Word count: 358

I sat at the entrance to a temple
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I sat at the entrance to a temple
At the Muses' grove, a nearby waterfall resounding,
In the soft light of evening.
Not a breeze stirred, and the departing sun
Gilded the dull weeping willows.

Quietly thinking, I sat there for a long, long time,
With my head resting on my right hand.
I thought about the future and the past, and I saw
On a mountain close to the throne of the gods
The abode of the sacred race,
The singers of ancient and modern time,
In whose song posterity still takes pleasure.
Dead, unnoticed and long forgotten, they sleep,
Far in the valley's dark depths,
The idols of their time,
In the giant shadows of impermanence.

And slowly drifting, comingout of that dark valley,
Emerging from a rotting meal for heroes,
There appeared a sinister form,
And it offered (as it sort of passed by),
In a chalice garlanded with poppies,
From Lethe's spring, it offered me oblivion!

Stirred, I wanted to ask the apparition,
"How can this drink be useful for me?"
But suddenly it had fled: I saw it with a quiet grudge
For I could not renounce my desires.
Then in a jolly dance, with steps as light as a zephyr, along came
A small guardian spirit. It sprang up
And gestured and called to me, "Come with me.
Break away from those fearful shades
Which even block out the sunshine of truth!
Come with me! I shall lead you to that laurel grove
Which none of the uninitiated have yet penetrated.
A beautiful unfading poet's wreath
Is blossoming there for you in the cheerful glow of spring.
There it is, embracing a branch of myrtle."

This is what he said, and he hurried forward.
I followed, fully trusting the beautiful youth,
Happy in my sweet delusion.

The most solemn silence now reigned
In the whole grove. The long desired goal,
Brightly shimmering, I could already see it in a distant cave in the shadows,
And I stood, completely lost in feelings of bliss.
"Take it," (he now said), " it is Apollo's will.
Take up this golden stringed instrument.
In the most painful hours it has the power,
Through its magical tones, to heal all the wounds
Inflicted on you by misfortune and strange delusion."
With tender, stirring chords,
It resounds from the south to the north
Faster than the speedy flight of time.
Be proud, be proud of what you possess, and think,
"Of all the things the gods lend to mortals
This is the highest gift!"
And you are not going to desecrate it.

Not yet entrusted with its full power, 
I first sang small songs;
And Echo replied strongly and joyfully.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Lebenstraum = "Dream of life"

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 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: 2016-09-11 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-09-11 17:51:07
Line count: 58
Word count: 450