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Lyr Add: Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut

keberoxu 01 Oct 17 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Oct 17 - 02:51 PM
keberoxu 02 Oct 17 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 27 Oct 17 - 07:33 PM
keberoxu 31 Dec 17 - 05:58 PM
keberoxu 16 Jan 18 - 03:46 PM
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Subject: touching lyric from the Enlightenment
From: keberoxu
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 02:11 PM

This poem was set to music by Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel, so it qualifies as a lyric.
Even without that, this is a memorable text.
The German-speaking Freemasons of the Enlightenment/Sturm-und-Drang era were so delighted with this text that they helped themselves to the parts they liked, and let the rest fall where it might.

This is the poem as written by its author,
Johann Matthias Dreyer,
and published by his widow after his death.

Not many poems move me to tears.
This one does.

Genau geprüft, erhabner als die Liebe,
Voll Ehrfurcht, Treu und Großmuth sind die Triebe,
Womit mein Herz sich dir ergiebt.
Ich kenne zwar der Liebe Macht und Lehre,
Doch so, wie ich dich, holde Freundin, ehre,
So edel ward noch nie geliebt.

Ich fordre nicht von dir geliebt zu werden,
Für dieses Glück, das höchste Glück auf Erden,
Ist mein Verdienst und Glück zu klein.
Ich fordre nicht es soll mir zu gefallen,
Kein einziger von Tausenden, von Allen,
Als ich nur dir gefällig sein.

Ich bin vergnügt, wenn du mir stets erlaubest
Ganz dein zu sein, wenn du bemerkst und glaubest,
Daß mich alsdenn kein Zufall kränkt.
Ich bin vergnügt, wenn öfters meinem Scherze
Dein Lächeln folgt, und wenn dein schönes Herze
Mir lächlend dein Vertrauen schenkt.

Entdeckst du mir mit einem einz'gen Blicke
Dies zärtliche, dies unschuldvolle Glücke,
So hab' ich was mein Wunsch begehrt;
So reizt mich nie der Höfe Pracht und Freude,
Ja kein Monarch, kein Engel selbst zum Neide,
Dann bin nur ich beneidenswehrt.

Die Vorsicht mag in meinem ganzen Leben
Mir selber nichts von Lust und Wohlsein geben,
Wenn sie nur dir stets Gutes thut,
Und meinen Tod mag einst kein Mensch beklagen,
Wirst du alsdann nur einmal von mir sagen:
Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut.

--from Johann Matthias Dreyer: Vorzüglichste deutsche Gedichte, published 1771. Altona: Conrad Jacob Spieringks Wittwe.
The digital file is from the website for the
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (the Bavarian State Library) in Munich, Germany,
and may be viewed online free of charge.
Dreyer's year/dates are 1717 - 1769,
and Sterkel published his musical setting
for solo voice and keyboard in Vienna in 1787.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 02:51 PM

I have studied German, but that poem is too complex for me. If you can understand it, I congratulate you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut
From: keberoxu
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 05:29 PM

Thanks, leeneia.

Yes, the first stanza is difficult for me as well; it is easier for me to skim past it and onto the later verses.   

The little I do grasp of the first stanza, is that a man is addressing this tribute to a friend of the opposite gender; he wishes to make it clear that he is not motivated by desire or lust, or anything carnal.
He is coming from a place of respect.
He does, however, admire his friend to the point of adoration.

The last stanza I will point at, briefly, for this reason:
it is the final stanza that gets stolen all the time.
The Freemasons steal it and put it in their songbooks
(18th century, early 19th century).   

A song from the early 1800's, music by Conradin Kreutzer,
is a good example of the previous;
the last stanza is there, almost intact,
preceded by two stanzas
that are NOTHING like the other verses written by the original poet
in the 1700's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 07:33 PM

Here's a rough effort at Verse I.

The address is to "holde Freundin," by a man:
that is to say, "cherished friend of the feminine gender."

A nobler thing than desire,
is that which lives between us:
put to the test, it has proven to be made of
reverence, trust, and generosity.
From these grew the impulses that
caused my heart to give itself over to you.
Truly, the intensity and enlightenment that come from desire/love
are familiar to me already;
but what I honor in your person, cherished lady-friend,
is so noble as was never loved before.

Whew! It just gets more exalted as it goes on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut
From: keberoxu
Date: 31 Dec 17 - 05:58 PM

Verse II

The highest fulfillment on earth,
that of being the love of your life,
is such great happiness
as I do not presume to,
for my merit and my good fortune are too small for that.
That I, amongst thousands, amongst us all,
were to presume to take pleasure
in being pleasing to you as nobody else is --
I do not demand as much.


Verse III

It contents me to be granted the privilege
ever to be entirely yours,
that you should take notice of me and believe me.
I am content that my playful joking draws a smile from you,
that your beautiful heart, smiling, bestows your trust upon me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Er war mein Freund, ich war ihm gut
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 03:46 PM

Verse IV

Should the pleasure of your tender, innocent happiness
Light upon me with a single glance from you,
Then my heart's desire is fulfilled;
The honors and privileges of the highborn are no temptation to me,
for no monarch, not even the angels, inspire envy in me:
for it is I who am to be envied.


Verse V (final verse)

Dame Providence, throughout the whole of my life,
need never bestow upon me the health and well-being
with which she always blesses you,
And no person need mourn my death when the time comes,
So long as you can say, one time, of me:
He was my friend, I cared about him.


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