by Johann Baptist Mayrhofer (1787 - 1836)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Uraniens Flucht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ENG FRE
»Laßt uns, ihr Himmlischen, ein Fest begehen!«
Gebiethet Zevs - [sein rascher Bothe eilt -]1
Und von der Unterwelt, den Höh'n und Seen,
Steigt Alles zum Olympus unverweilt.

Der Rebengott verläßt, den er bezwungen,
Des Indus blumenreichen Fabelstrand;
Des Helikons erhabne Dämmerungen
Apoll, und Cypria ihr Inselland.

Die Strömerinen moosbesäumter Quellen,
Dryadengruppen aus dem stillen Hain,
[Wie]2 der beherrscht des Oceanes Wellen,
Sie finden willig sich zum Feste ein.

Und wie sie nun in glänzenden Gewanden
Den ew'gen Kreis, an dem kein Wechsel zehrt,
Den blühenden, um unsern Donn'rer wanden,
Da strahlt sein Auge jugendlich verklärt.

Er winkt: und Hebe [füllet Krüg' und]3 Schalen,
Er winkt: [der Trojer]4 reicht Ambrosia,
Er winkt: und süße Freudenhymnen schallen;
Und was er immer [ordnete,]5 geschah.

Schon röthet Lust der Gäste Stirn' und Wange,
Der schlaue Eros lächelt still für sich:
Die Flügel öffnen sich - im sachten Gange,
Ein edles Weib in die Versammlung schlich.

Unstreitig ist sie aus der Uraniden
Geschlecht', ihr Haupt umhellt ein Sternenkranz;
Es leuchtet herrlich auf dem lebensmüden
Und [bleichgefärbten]6 Antlitz Himmelsglanz.

Doch ihre gelben Haare sind verschnitten,
Ein dürftig Kleid deckt ihren reinen Leib.
Die wunden Hände deuten, daß gelitten
Der Knechtschaft schwere Schmach das Götterweib.

Es spähet Jupiter in ihren Zügen:
»Du bist - du bist es nicht, Urania!«
»Ich bin's.« - Die Götter taumeln von den Krügen
Erstaunt, und rufen: wie? Urania!

»Ich kenne dich nicht mehr. In holder Schöne«
Spricht Zevs - »zogst [du]7 der Erde zu.
[Dem]8 Göttlichen befreunden ihre Söhne,
In meine Wohnung leiten solltest du.

Womit Pandora einstens sich gebrüstet,
Ist unbedeutend wahrlich und gering,
Erwäge ich, womit ich dich gerüstet,
Den Schmuck, den meine Liebe um dich hing.«

»Was du, o Herr, mir damahls aufgetragen,
Wozu des Herzens eigner Drang mich trieb,
Vollzog ich willig, ja ich darf es sagen;
Doch daß mein Wirken ohne Früchte blieb,

Magst du, o Herrscher, mit dem Schicksal rechten,
Dem alles, was entstand, ist unterthan;
Der Mensch verwirrt das Gute mit dem Schlechten,
Ihn hält gefangen Sinnlichkeit und Wahn.

Dem Einen mußt' ich seine Aecker pflügen,
Dem Andern Schaffnerin im Hause seyn,
Dem seine Kindlein in die Ruhe wiegen,
Dem Andern sollt' ich Lobgedichte streu'n.

Der Eine sperrte mich in tiefe Schachten,
Ihm auszubeuten klingendes Metall;
Der [Andre]9 jagte mich durch blut'ge Schlachten
Um Ruhm - so wechselte der Armen Qual.

Ja dieses Diadem, - die goldnen Sterne -
Das du der Scheidenden hast zugewandt,
Sie hätten es zur Feuerung ganz gerne
Bey winterlichem Froste weggebrannt.«

»Verwünschte Brut,« [ruft]10 Zevs mit wilder Stimme,
»Dem schnellsten Untergang sey [du]11 geweiht!«
Die Wolkenburg erbebt [vor]12 seinem Grimme,
Und Luft und Meer und Land erzittern weit.

Er reißt den Blitz gewaltsam aus den Fängen
Des Adlers; über'm hohen Haupte schwenkt
Die Lohe er, die Erde zu versengen,
Die seinen Liebling unerhört gekränkt.

Er schreitet vorwärts, um sie zu verderben,
Es dräut der rothe Blitz, noch mehr sein Blick.
Die bange Welt bereitet sich zu sterben -
Es sinkt [des Rächers Arm]13, er tritt zurück,

Und heißt Uranien [hinunter]14 schauen.
Sie sieht in weiter Fern' ein liebend Paar,
Auf einer grünen stromumflossnen Auen,
Ihr Bildniß ziert den ländlichen Altar,

Vor dem die Beyden opfernd [niederknien]15,
Die Himmlische ersehnend, die entflohn;
Und wie ein [Ocean von Harmonien]16 
Umwogt die Göttin ihres Flehens Ton.

Ihr dunkles Auge füllet eine Thräne,
Der Schmerz der Liebenden hat sie erreicht;
Ihr Unmuth wird, wie eines Bogens Sehne
Vom [Morgenthaue]17, nun erweicht.

»Verzeihe,« heischt die göttliche Versöhnte:
»Ich war zu rasch im Zorn, mein Dienst, er gilt
Noch auf der Erde: wie man mich auch höhnte,
Manch frommes Herz ist noch von mir erfüllt.

O laß mich zu den armen Menschen steigen,
Sie lehren, was dein hoher Wille ist,
Und ihnen mütterlich in Träumen zeigen
Das Land, wo der Vollendung Blume sprießt.«

»Es sey,« ruft Zevs, »reich will ich dich bestatten;
Zeuch, Tochter, hin, mit frischem starken Sinn!
Und [komm, gewahrst]18 du deine Kraft ermatten,
Zu uns herauf, des Himmels Bürgerin.

Oft sehen wir dich kommen, wieder scheiden,
In immer längern Räumen bleibst du aus,
Und endlich gar - es enden deine Leiden,
Die weite Erde nennst du einst dein Haus.

[Du, Dulderin! wirst dort]19 geachtet wohnen,
Noch mehr, als wir. Vergänglich ist die Macht,
Die uns erfreut; der Sturm [droht unsren]20 Thronen,
Doch deine Sterne leuchten durch die Nacht.«

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Johann Mayrhofer. Wien. Bey Friedrich Volke. 1824, pages 169-174.

Note: Schubert received Mayrhofer's texts generally in handwriting; the printed edition of Mayrhofer's poems appeared much later and presents the texts usually in a revised version.

1 omitted by Schubert
2 Schubert: "Und"
3 Schubert: "füllt die goldnen"
4 Schubert: "und Ceres"
5 Schubert: "ordnet', das"
6 Schubert Alte Gesamtausgabe (AGA) and Neue Gesamtausgabe (NGA): "bleich gefärbten"
7 Schubert: "du von mir"
8 Schubert: "Den"
9 Schubert (NGA): "eine"
10 Schubert: "herrscht"
11 Schubert: "sie"
12 Schubert (autograph, and AGA, not NGA): "von"
13 Schubert: "der Rächerarm"
14 Schubert: "hinab zu"
15 Schubert: "niederknieen"
16 Schubert: "mächtig Meer von Harmonieen"
17 Schubert: "feuchten Morgenthaue", the omission of "feuchten" seems to be an error in Mayrhofer's print.
18 Schubert: "komme, fühlst"
19 Schubert (autograph) erroneously wrote "Du Dulderin wirst du", AGA prints "Da, Dulderin, wirst du", NGA prints "Du Dulderin wirst dort".
20 Schubert: "fällt unsre"

Authorship

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) , "La fugida d'Urània", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Urania's vlucht", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (T. P. (Peter) Perrin) , "Urania's Flight", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "The flight of Urania", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le vol d'Uranie", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Richard Morris , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-01-09 07:06:50
Line count: 108
Word count: 716

The flight of Urania
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
"Come on, you heavenly beings, let us hold a feast!"
Commands Zeus - his swift messenger rushes off - 
And along they come from the Underworld, from the heights and the lakes,
They all climb up to Olympus without delay.

The god of grapes leaves the area he has conquered,
The fabled banks of the Indus, rich in flowers;
Leaving the lofty, shaded Mount Helicon is
Apollo, and Cypria leaves her island home.

Nymphs leave springs lined with moss,
Groups of Dryads leave the quiet grove,
And he who is master of the ocean's waves,
They all willingly attend the feast.

And now watch them in their glowing robes
As they form an endless circle, something which is not subject to change,
A radiant circle dancing around our thunderer,
Whose eyes shine out, transfigured by youth.

He makes a gesture: and Hebe fills the golden bowls,
He makes a gesture: and Ceres hands out ambrosia,
He makes a gesture: and sweet hymns of joy resound;
And whatever he decreed is what happened.

The foreheads and cheeks of the guests have already turned red with pleasure,
Sly Eros smiles silently to himself:
The doors swing open - with a gentle tread
A noble woman slips into the assembly.

There can be no disputing that she is one of the Uranid
Race, a garland of stars is shining around her head;
Shining majestically on that face which is tired of life,
On her pale visage, is the glow of heaven.

But her yellow hair has been cut,
A miserable dress covers her pure body.
Her sore hands indicate that there has been suffering:
The divine woman has been subject to the heavy shame of bondage.

Jupiter peers into her features:
"It is you - it isn't you, Urania!"
"It IS me." - The gods stagger up, leaving their bowls,
Amazed, and they cry: what? Urania!

"I can no longer recognise you. In your glorious beauty,"
Says Zeus - "you went away from me to go to the Earth.
You were going to acquaint the sons of Earth with the gods
And you were intending to lead them into my dwelling.

That which Pandora once boasted about
Is truly insignificant and paltry,
It seems to me, compared to what I kitted you out with,
The jewellery that my love hung around your head."

"Oh lord, what you instructed me to do at that time
Was something that I felt impelled towards by my own heart and 
I fulfilled the task willingly, yes, I admit it;
However, the fact that my work did not bear fruit

Is something that you, oh mighty one, will have to take up with Fate,
To which all things that have come into being are subject;
Humans confuse good and evil,
They are held captive by sensuality and delusion.

One of them made me plough his field,
For another I had to serve as housekeeper indoors,
One of them made me rock his babies to sleep,
For another I was supposed to hand out adulatory poems.

One of them locked me down a deep mine
In order to dig out jangling metal for him;
Another chased me through bloody battles
Waged for glory - this is how the agony of the poor kept changing.

Even this diadem - these golden stars - 
Which you bestowed on me when I left
They would happily have set fire to it
And burnt it up during the winter frosts."

"Accursed brood," commands Zeus with a savage voice,
"I shall decree the quickest possible annihilation for them!"
The castle in the clouds rises up in response to his fury
And the air, sea and land quake in the distance.

He violently snatches the lightning out of the talons of
The eagle; high above his lofty head he brandishes
The burning flames, intending to scorch the Earth,
Which had outrageously hurt his dearest one.

He steps forward in order to destroy it,
The red lightning is threatening, but the look in his eye is even more so.
The anxious world prepares to die - 
Then the arm of the avenger sinks, he steps back,

And calls Urania to look down.
In the far distance she sees a loving couple,
On a green meadow with a stream flowing around it,
The rustic altar is adorned with an image of her,

The two of them are kneeling in front of it offering a sacrifice,
Yearning for the divine being who has fled;
And like a powerful sea of harmonies
The sound of their supplications wells up around the goddess.

A tear fills her dark eye,
The pain of the lovers has reached her;
Her displeasure changes, like a bowstring
Touched by the moist morning dew, she now softens.

"Forgive me," begs the goddess, appeased,
"I was too hasty in my anger, there are still some who serve me
Remaining on Earth: although I was also despised
There are a number of pious hearts still devoted to me.

Oh let me descend to those poor humans
To teach them what your lofty will is,
And with a motherly care show them in dreams
The land where the flower of perfection blossoms."

"So be it," declares Zeus, "I shall give you a rich send-off;
Go off, daughter, with renewed, strong determination!
And if you feel that your strength is exhausted, come
Back up to us as a citizen of Heaven.

We shall often see you coming and leaving again,
You will stay away for increasingly long periods,
And eventually - your sufferings will come to an end,
You will be able to call the whole Earth your home.

You who have suffered will be respected there
Even more than we are. It is only temporary, this power
Which we enjoy; the storm will topple our thrones,
But your stars will shine on through the night."

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 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: 2018-08-19 00:00:00
Last modified: 2018-08-19 11:54:24
Line count: 108
Word count: 977