1815 was the year of Schubert's ill-fated love for Therese Grob, and it is easy to see that this poem of Walter Mitty fantasy would have appealed to a young man without the real means to win his lady. The song is marked 'erzählend' ('as though telling a story') and there is a whimsical freedom here as though words and music are invented on the spot as the daydreamer plays a game of consequences with himself. There is also much humour and tenderness. The singer can vary the final cadence of each verse so as to suggest anything from triumphant assertion to rueful self-delusion. Schubert made a half-hearted attempt to set the poem again, probably in 1816. Only six bars of the vocal line were completed.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989