« AnteriorContinuar »
She gives thee a garland woven fair,
Take care !
Beware! Beware !
Trust her not,
SONG OF THE BELL.
FROM THE GERMAN.
To the church doth hie !
Fields deserted lie !
Bed-time draweth nigh!
Parting hath gone by!
Thou art but metal dull !
Thou dost feel them all!
Placed within thy form!
Trembling in the storm !
THE CASTLE BY THE SEA.
FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND. " Hast thou seen that lordly castle,
That Castle by the Sea ? Golden and red above it
The clouds float gorgeously. “ And fain it would stoop downward
To the mirrored wave below; And fain it would soar upward
In the evening's crimson glow.”
"Well have I seen that castle,
That Castle by the Sea,
And the mist rise solemnly."
Had they a merry chime ?
The harp and the minstrel's rhyme ?” " The winds and the waves of ocean,
They rested quietly;
And tears came to mine eye.”
The King and his royal bride?
And the golden crown of pride? " Led they not forth, in rapture,
A beauteous maiden there? Resplendent as the morning sun,
Beaming with golden hair ?”
Without the crown of pride ;
No maiden was by their side !"
THE BLACK KNIGHT.
FROM THE GERMAN OF UILAND.
'Twas Pentecost, the Feast of Gladness, When woods and fields put off all sadness.
Thus began the King and spake ; " So from the halls Of ancient Hofburg's walls,
A luxuriant Spring shall break.”
From balcony the King looked on ;
Before the monarch's stalwart son.
“ Sir Knight ! your name and scutcheon, say!"
“ Should I speak it here,
I am a Prince of mighty sway!”
And the castle 'gan to rock.
Hardly rises from the shock.
Waves a mighty shadow in ;
Doth with her the dance begin;
Coldly clasped her limbs around.
Flowerets, faded, to the ground.
'Twixt son and daughter all distraught, With mournful mind The ancient King reclined,
Gazed at them in silent thought. Pale the children both did look, But the guest a beaker took ;
"Golden wine will make you whole!” The children drank, Gave many a courteous thank;
“Oh, that draught was very cool!"
Colourless grow utterly.
He beholds his children die.
Take me, too, the joyless father!”
“ Roses in the spring I gather!"
FROM THE GERMAN OF SALIS.
THE CHILDREN OF THE LORD'S SUPPER,
FROM THE SWEDISH OF BISHOP TEGNER.
This Idyl, from the original of Bishop Tegnér, descriptive of scenes of village life in Sweden, enjoys a well-merited reputation in the North of Europe, from its beauty and simplicity as well as from the pure and elevated tone of the writer.
There is something patriarchal still lingering about rural life in Sweden, com. bined with an almost primeval simplicity, an almost primeval solitude, which renders it a fit theme for song. You pass out from the gate of the city, and, as if by magic, the scene changes to a wild, woodland landscape. Around you are forests of fir, with their long, fan-like branches ; while under foot is spread a carpet of yellow leaves. On a wooden bridge you cross a little silver stream ; and anon come forth into a pleasant land of farms. Wooden fences divide the adjoining fields. The gates are opened by troops of children, and the peasants take off their hats as you pass. The houses in the villages and smaller towns are built of hewn timber, and are generally painted red. The floors of the taverns are strewn with the fragrant tips of fir-boughs. In many villages there are no taverns, and the peasants take turns in receiving travellers. The thrifty house. wife shows you into the best chamber, the walls of which are hung round with rude pictures from the Bible; and she brings you curdled milk from the pan, with daten cakes baked some months before. Meanwhile the sturdy husband has brought his horses from the plough, and harnessed them to your carriage. Solitary travellers come and go in uncouth one-horse chaises. Most of them
are smoking pipes, and have hanging around their necks in front a leather walle in which they carry tobacco, and the great bank-notes of the country. You meet, also, groups of barefooted Dalekarlian peasant women, travelling in pur. suit of work, carrying in their hands their shoes, which have high heels under the hollow of the foot, and soles of birch bark.
Frequent, too, are the village churches, standing by the road-side. In the churchyard are a few flowers, and much green grass. The gravestones are flat, large. Low, and perhaps sunken, like the roots of old houses: the tenants all sleeping with their heads to the westward. Each held a lighted taper in his hand when he died; and in his coffin were placed his little heart-t 'easures, and a piece of money for his last journey. Babes that came lifeless into the world were carried in the arms of gray-haired old men to the only cradle they ever slept in ; and in the shroud of the dead mother were laid the little garments of the child that lived and died in her bosom. Near the churchyard gate stands a poor-box, with a sloping roof over it, fastened to a post by iron bands, and secured by a padlock. If it be Sunday, the peasants sit on the church-steps and con their psalm-books. Others are coming down the road, listening to their beloved pastor. He is their patriarch, and, like Melchizedek, both priest and king, though he has no other throne than the church-pulpit. The women carry psalmbooks in their hands, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs, and listen devoutly to the good man's words. But the young men, like Gallio, care for none of these things. They are busy counting the plaits in the kirtles of the peasant girls, their number being an indication of the wearer's wealth.
I will endeavour to describe a village wedding in Sweden. It shall be in summer time, that the early song of the lark and of chanticleer may be heard mingling in the clear morning air, just after sunrise. In the yard there is a sound of voices and trampling of hoofs. The steed is led forth that is to bear the bridegroom, with a bunch of flowers upon his forehead, and a garland of corn-flowers around his neck. Friends from the neighbouring farms como riding in, and the happy bridegroom, with a whip in his hand, and a monstrous nosegay in the breast of his black jacket, comes forth from his chamber; and then to horse and away, towards the village where the bride is demurely waiting.
Foremost rides the Spokesman, followed by some village musicians. Next comes the happy swain between his two groomsmen, and then“ heaps of friends," half of them perhaps with firearms in their hands. A waggon laden with food and drink brings up the rear. At the entrance of every village stands & triumphal arch, adorned with flowers and ribands; and as they pass beneath it the wedding guests fire a salute, and the whole procession stops. And straight from many a pocket flies a black-jack, filled with punch or brandy. It is passed from hand to hand among the crowd ; provisions are brought from the waggon, and after eating and drinking and hurrahing, the procession moves forward again, and at length draws near the house of the bride. Four heralds ride forward to announce that a knight and his attendants are in the neighbouring forest, and pray for hospitality. “How many are you?" asks the bride's father. “At least three hundred," is the answer; and to this the host replies, “ Were you seven times as many, you should all be welcome; and in token thereof receive this cap.” Whereupon each herald receives a can of ale; and soon after the whole jovial company pours into the farmer's yard, and, riding round the Maypole in the centre, alights amid a grand flourish of music.
In the hall sits the bride, with a crown upon her head and a tear in her eye ; she is dressed in a red bodice, and kirtle, with loose linen sleeves. There is a gilded belt around her waist, and around her neck strings of golden beads, and a golden chain. On the crown rests a wreath of wild roses, and below it another of cypress. Loosely over her shoulders falls her flaxen hair; and her blue inno. cent eyes are fixed upon the ground. But with all this display, she is poor in worldly wealth. Her very ornaments have been hired for this great day. Yet is she rich in health, rich in hope, rich in her first young love. The blessing of heaven be upon thee! So thinks the parish priest, as he joins together the nands of bride and bridegroom, saying, in deep, solemn tones, -"I give thee in marriage this damsel. to be thy wedded wife in all honour, and to share the half of tby bed, thy lock and key, and every third penny which you two may possess, or may inherit, and all the rights which Upland's laws provide, and the holy king Erik gave.”'
The dinner is now served, and the bride sits between the bridegroom and the