Gottfried Konrad Pfeffel, “Auf die Blindheit des Fräulein von Paradis,” in English and German (side by side on the page) in the Journal von und für Deutschland, ed. Leopold Friedrich Günter von Goeckingk, vol. 3, no. 8 (1786), 96–98; music excerpt following p. 188.
The English version there reads (orthography as in original):
Written in German for Mademoiseille Paradis, by her blind friend M. Pfeffel of Colmar,
and set to Music by her Music Master, M. Leopold Kozeluch of Vienna, Nov. 11. 1784.
Imitated [i.e., translated] by Dr. Burney.
The new born insect sporting in the Sun, Is the true Semblance of my infant state, When e'vry prize for which life's race is run, Was hidden from me by malignant fate. Instant destruction quench'd each visual ray, No mother's tears, no objects were reveal'd! Extinguish'd was the glorious lamp of day, And ev'ry work of God at once conceal'd! Where am I plung'd! with trembling voice I cried, Ah! why this premature, this sudden night! That from my view a parents looks can hide, Those looks more chearing than celestial light! Vain are affliction's Sobs, or piercing cries, The fatal mischief baffles all relief! The healing art no succur can devise, Nor balm extract from briny tears and grief! How should I wander through the gloomy maze, Or bear the black monotony of woe, Did not maternal Kindness gild my days, And guide my devious footsteps to and fro! Upon a festival design'd To praise the Father of mankind, When joining in the lofty theme, I tried to hymn the great Supreme; A rustling sound of wings I hear, Follow'd by accents sweet and clear, Such as from inspiration flow When Hayden's fire and fancy glow. I am the genius of that gentle art Which sooths the sorrows of mankind, And to my faithfull votaries impart Extatic jois the most refin'd. On earth each bard Sublime my pow'r displays, Divine Cecilia was my own; In heav'n each saint and Seraph breathes my lays In praises round th' eternal throne. To thee, afflicted maid, I come with friendly aid To put despair to flight, And chear thy endless night. Then, gently leaning tho the new-mate lyre, He plac'd my fingers on the speaking keys; With these, (he cries) thou listening crouds shalt fire, And Rapture teach on every heart to seize. Elastic force my nerves new brac'd, And from my voice new accents flow; My soul new pleasures learn'd to taste, And sound's sweet powr alleviates woe. Theresa! great in goodness as in power Whose fav'rite use of boundless sway, Was benefits on all to show'r, And wipe the tear of wretchedness away. When first my hand and voice essay'd, Sweet Pergolesi's pious strains, Her pitying goodnesss she display'd, To cherish and reward my pains. But now, alas! this friend to woe, This benefactress is no more! And though my eyes no light bestow, Thiy'll long with tears her loss deplore! Yet still where' es my footsteps bend, My helpless state has found a friend. How sweet the pity of the good! How grateful is their praise! How every Sorrow is subdu'd, When they applaud my lays! Th' illustrious patrons I have found, Whose approbation warms my heart, Excite a wish that every sound Seraphic rapture could impart. The wreaths my feeble talents share, The balmy solace friends employ, Lifting the soul above despair, Concert calamity to joy.
© 2011 Doug Stott