Cora to the sun
(Poet's title: Cora an die Sonne)
Set by Schubert:
[August 22, 1815]
Nach so vielen trüben Tagen
Send uns wiederum einmal,
Mitleidsvoll für unsre Klagen,
Einen sanften, milden Strahl.
Liebe Sonne! trink den Regen,
Der herab zu stürzen dräut,
Deine Strahlen sind uns Segen,
Deine Blicke – Seligkeit.
Schein, ach, scheine, liebe Sonne!
Jede Freude dank ich dir;
Alle Geist- und Herzenswonne,
Licht und Wärme kommt von dir.
After so many dreary days
Send us once again,
In sympathy with our laments,
A soft, gentle ray of light.
Dear sun! Drink up the rain
Which is threatening to pour down;
Your beams are blessings for us,
Your glances offer contentment.
Shine, oh shine, dear sun!
I thank you for each joy;
All the delights of the spirit and the heart,
Light and warmth come from you.
All translations into English that appear on this website, unless otherwise stated, are by Malcolm Wren. You are free to use them on condition that you acknowledge Malcolm Wren as the translator and schubertsong.uk as the source. Unless otherwise stated, the comments and essays that appear after the texts and translations are by Malcolm Wren and are © Copyright.
The sun is being addressed directly, as if the poet belonged to a culture which venerated the sun god itself (Sol Invictus, Helios, Ra etc.). In fact Gabriele von Baumberg lived in the heart of Catholic Europe (in Vienna, the capital of what was still called the Holy Roman Empire), where any appeals for metereological intervention should have been directed to God Almighty, the creator of the sun (and also the annoyingly ubiquitous rainclouds). However, the poem is not written in the poet’s own voice. The appeal to the sun (a seemingly female goddess since the German noun ‘die Sonne’ is feminine) is put in the mouth of Cora.
Cora (Greek, Kore) is one of the names of Persephone / Proserpine, a vegetation goddess who spends each winter in darkness, in the underworld. Her return to the light corresponds with spring. After so many gloomy days, rays of light eventually penetrate the darkness and she is freed from her imprisonment (in some versions of the myth, at the hands of Pluto, god of the underworld). Her release was celebrated by some of the ancient Greeks in a series of rites known as The Mysteries.
Or Cora is just the name of a well-behaved and carefully chaperoned 18th century young woman who hasn’t been able to go out for a walk in recent days because of the rain. All that she can do is sit indoors (again) and write classically balanced verses addressed to the sun. No Mystery there.
Original Spelling Cora an die Sonne Nach so vielen trüben Tagen Send´ uns wiederum einmal, Mitleidsvoll für unsre Klagen, Einen sanften milden Strahl. Liebe Sonne! trink den Regen, Der herab zu stürzen dräut, Deine Strahlen sind uns Segen, Deine Blicke - Seligkeit. Schein, ach, scheine, liebe Sonne! Jede Freude dank' ich dir; Alle Geists- und Herzenswonne, Licht und Wärme kommt von dir.
Confirmed by Peter Rastl with Schubert’s probable source Sämmtliche Gedichte Gabrielens von Baumberg. Wien, gedruckt bey Joh. Thom. Edl. v. Trattnern, k.k. Hofbuchdrucker und Buchhändler, 1800, page 240.
To see the 1800 edition of the text, go to page 240 (272 von 350) here: http://digital.onb.ac.at/OnbViewer/viewer.faces?doc=ABO_%2BZ103534702