In March 1817 Franz Schubert composed the song "Memnon" to words by his friend Johann Mayrhofer. The martial aspects of the Memnon story actually find no place in either Mayrhofer's poem or Schubert's setting. Mayrhofer and Schubert were likely drawn to the myth of "Vocal Memnon" for somewhat different reasons. The myth not only suited Mayrhofer's classical leanings but also symbolized his personal plight. Memnon's twilight zone between life and death paralleled Mayrhofer's own tortured existence. In the opening lines of "Memnon" Mayrhofer seems to allude to his own painful condition: "Gewohnt zu schweigen immer und zu trauern." Mayrhofer was not alone in associating Memnon's wail with poetic speech. Biographical and musical evidence suggests that Schubert was drawn to the Memnon myth for reasons different than Mayrhofer's. In Mayrhofer's poem, his desire remains a fantasy; in Schubert's setting, the fantasy is realized in music that exudes both lyricism and simplicity.