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Then in vain, with cries discordant,
Clamorous round the Gothic spire, Screamed the feathered Minnesingers
For the children of the choir. Time has long effaced the inscriptions
On the cloister's funeral stones, And tradition only tells us
Where repose the poet's bones. But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied, Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid.
WALTER VON DER
VOGELWEID. [WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID, or BIRD-MEADOW, was one of the principal Minnesingers of the thirteenth century. He triumphed over Heinrich von Ofterdingen in that poetic contest at Wartburg Castle, known in literary history as the War of Wartburg.] VogelwEID the Minnesinger,
When he left this world of ours, Laid his body in the cloister,
Under Würtzburg's minster towers. And he gave the monks his treasures,
Gave them all with this behest: They should feed the birds at noontide
Daily on his place of rest; Saying, “ From these wandering min
strels I have learned the art of song ; Let me now repay the lessons
They have taught so well and long." Thus the bard of love departed;
And, fulfilling his desire,
By the children of the choir.
In foul weather and in fair,
Flocked the poets of the air.
Overshadowed all the place,
On the poet's sculptured face,
On the lintel of each door,
Which the bard had fought before.
Sang their lauds on every side; And the name their voices uttered
Was the name of Vogelweid. Till at length the portly abbot
Murmured, “Why this waste of food ? Be it changed to loaves henceforward
For our fasting brotherhood.” Then in vain o'er tower and turret,
From the walls and woodland nests, When the minster bell rang noontide,
Gathered the unwelcome guests.
From the pitcher, placed between us, How the waters laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus; Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Led by his inebriate Satyrs; On his breast his head is sunken,
Vacantly he leers and chatters. Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;
Ivy crowns that brow supernal As the forehead of Apollo,
And possessing youth eternal. Round about him, fair Bacchantes,
Bearing cymbals, flutes, and thyrses, Wild from Naxian groves, or Zante's
Vineyards sing delirious verses. Thus he won, through all the nations,
Bloodless victories, and the farmer Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Vines for banners, ploughs forarmour. Judged by no o'erzealous rigour,
Much this mystic throng expresses : Bacchus was the type of vigour,
And Silenus of excesses. These are ancient ethnic revels,
Of a faith long since forsaken; Now the Satyrs, changed to devils,
Frighten mortals wine o'ertaken. Now to rivulets from the mountains
Point the rods of fortune-tellers ; Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,
Not in flasks, and casks and cellars. Claudius, though he sang of fagons And huge tankards filled with
From that fiery blood of dragons Distinct as a passing footstep's fall,
Never would his own replenish. It echoes along the vacant hall, Even Redi, though he chaunted
Along the ceiling, along the floor, Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys, And
seems to say at each chamber-door, Never drank the wine he vaunted
“Forever-never ! Never-forever!” In his dithyrambic sallies.
Through days of sorrow and of mirth, Then with water fill the pitcher
Through days of death and days of Wreathed about with classic fables ;
birth, Ne'er Falernian threw a richer
Through every swift vicissitude Light upon Lucullus' tables.
Of changeful time, unchanged it has Come, old friend, sit down and listen !
stood, As it passes thus between us,
And as if, like God, it all things saw, How its wavelets laugh and glisten
It calmly repeats those words of awe,In the head of old Silenus !
In that mansion used to be
His great fires up the chimney roared ; It fell to earth, I knew not where;
The stranger feasted at his board; For, so swiftly it few, the sight
But, like the skeleton at the feast, Could not follow it in its flight.
That warning timepiece never ceased, I breathed a song into the air,
“Forever-never! Never-forever!" It fell to earth, I knew not where; There groups of merry children played, For who has sight so keen and strong,
There youths and maidens dreaming That it can follow the flight of song?
strayed; Long, long afterward, in an oak
O precious hours! O golden prime,
And affluence of love and time!
Even as a miser counts his gold,
Those hours the ancient timepiece I found again in the heart of a friend.
told, THE OLD CLOCK ON THE
“Forever-never ! Never-forever!” STAIRS.
From that chamber, clothed in white, [L'éternité est une pendule, dont le The bride came forth on her wedding balancier dit et redit sans cesse ces deux
night; mots seulement, dans le silence des There, in that silent room below, tombeaux: “Toujours! jamais! Jamais! The dead lay in his shroud of snow; toujours !"-JACQUES BRIDAINE.] And in the hush that followed the prayer, SOMEWHAT back from the village street
Was heard the old clock on the stair,Stands the old-fashioned country-seat,
“Forever-never ! Never-forever!” Across its antique portico
All are scattered now and fled, Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw, Some are married, some are dead; And from its station in the hall
And when I ask, with throbs of pain, An ancient timepiece says to all,- "Ah! when shall they all meet again?”
“Forever-never! Never-forever!” As in the days long-since gone by, Half-way up the stairs it stands,
The ancient time-piece makes reply,And points and beckons with its hands “Forever-never ! Never--forever!” From its case of massive oak,
Never here, forever there, Like a monk, who, under his cloak, Where all parting, pain, and care, Crosses himself, and sighs alas !
And death, and time shall disappear,With sorrowful voice to all who pass, Forever there, but never here!
“Forever-never! Never-forever!” The horologe of Eternity By day its voice is low and light; Sayeth this
incessantly, But in the silent dead of night,
Forever-never ! Never-forever!" SONNETS.
AUTUMN. Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the
rain, With banners, by great gales incessant
fanned, Brighter than brightest silks of Samar
cand, And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain! Thou standest, like imperial Charle
magne, * Upon thy bridge of gold ; thy royal hand Outstretched with benedictions o'er the
land, Blessing the farms through all thy vast
domain. Thy shield is the red harvest moon,
suspended So long beneath the heaven's o'er
hanging eaves; Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers
attended; Like flames upon an altar shine the
sheaves; And, following thee, in thy ovation
splendid, Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the
golden leaves !
With thoughtful pace, and sad majestic
eyes, Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul
arise, Like Farinata from his fiery tomb, Thy sacred song is like the trump of
doom ; Yet in thy heart what human sym
pathies, What soft compassion glows, as in the
skies The tender stars their clouded lamps
relume! Methinks I see thee stand, with pallid
cheeks, By Fra Hilario in his diocese, As up the convent-walls, in golden
streaks, The ascending sunbeams mark the
day's decrease ; And, as he asks what there the stranger
seeks, Thy voice along the cloister whispers,
DANTE. TUSCAN, that wanderest through the
realms of gloom, * Charlemagne may be called by pre-eminence the monarch of farmers. According to the German tradition, in seasons of great abundance his spirit crosses the Rhine on a golden bridge at Bingen, and blesses the corn-fields and the vineyards. During his lifetime, he did not disdain, says Montesquieu, “ to sell the eggs from the farmyards of his domains, and the superfluous vegetables of his gardens ; while he distributed among his people the wealth of the Lombards, and the immense treasures of the Huns."
THE EVENING STAR. Lo! in the painted oriel of the West, Whose panes the sunken sun incarna
dines Like a fair lady at her casement, shines The Evening Star, the star of love and
rest! And then anon she doth herself divest Of all her radiant garments, and reclines Behind the sombre screen of yonder
pines, With slumber and soft dreams of love
oppressed. O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus ! My morning and my evening star of
love! My best and gentlest lady! even thus, As that fair planet in the sky above, Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night, And from thy darkened window fades
A TALE OF ACADIE.
PREFATORY NOTE. [The story of “ EVANGELINE.” is founded on a painful occnrrence which took place in the early period of British colonization in the northern part of America.
In the year 1713, Acadia, or, as it is now named, Nova Scotia, was ceded to Great Britain by the French. The wishes of the inhabitants seem to have been little consulted in the change, and they with great difficulty were induced to take the oaths of allegiance to the British Government. Some time after this, war having again broken out between the French and British in Canada, the Acadians were accused of having assisted the French, from whom they were descended, and connected by many ties of friendship, with provisions and ammunition, at the siege of Beau Séjour. Whether the accusation was founded on fact or not, has not been satisfactorily ascertained ; the result, however, was most disastrous to the primitive, simple-minded Acadians. The British Government ordered them to be removed from their homes, and dispersed throughout the other colonies, at a distance from their much-loved land. This resolution was not communicated to the inhabitants till measures had been matured to carry it into immediate effect; when the Governor of the colony, having issued a summons calling the whole people to a meeting, informed them that their lands, tenements, and cattle of all kinds were forfeited to the British crown, that he had orders to remove them in vessels to distant colonies, and they must remain in custody till their embarkation.
The poem is descriptive of the fate of some of the persons involved in these calamitous proceedings.]
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
PART THE FIRST.
In the Acadian land, on the shores of the Basin of Minas,
was poor, and the poorest lived in abundance.