The poem was written at the beginning of Goethe's stay in Weimar (where he was to remain for most of his life), and in the early stages of his relationship with the aristocrat Charlotte von Stein who was to help the young firebrand change into a. courtier and statesman. It was Charlotte (the dedicatee of this poem) who made Goethe realise that a lifetime of Sturm und Drang was a ridiculous prospect; a man who had been forever on the move now needed to settle down. With unerring genius the young Schubert of 1815 has reflected in music the classical gravity of the words, and by repeating the last two lines has added musical ardour to the poem's entreaty without disturbing its essential poise.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1988
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