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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


From the German. The Luck of Edenhall

  • (Das Glück von Edenhall)
    By Johann Ludwig Uhland

  • OF Edenhall, the youthful Lord

    Bids sound the festal trumpet’s call;

    He rises at the banquet board,

    And cries, ’mid the drunken revellers all,

    “Now bring me the Luck of Edenhall!”

    The butler hears the words with pain,

    The house’s oldest seneschal,

    Takes slow from its silken cloth again

    The drinking-glass of crystal tall;

    They call it the Luck of Edenhall.

    Then said the Lord: “This glass to praise,

    Fill with red wine from Portugal!”

    The graybeard with trembling hand obeys;

    A purple light shines over all,

    It beams from the Luck of Edenhall.

    Then speaks the Lord, and waves it light:

    “This glass of flashing crystal tall

    Gave to my sires the Fountain-Sprite;

    She wrote in it, If this glass doth fall,

    Farewell then, O Luck of Edenhall!

    “’T was right a goblet the Fate should be

    Of the joyous race of Edenhall!

    Deep draughts drink we right willingly;

    And willingly ring, with merry call,

    Kling! klang! to the Luck of Edenhall!”

    First rings it deep, and full, and mild,

    Like to the song of a nightingale;

    Then like the roar of a torrent wild;

    Then mutters at last like the thunder’s fall,

    The glorious Luck of Edenhall.

    “For its keeper takes a race of might,

    The fragile goblet of crystal tall;

    It has lasted longer than is right;

    Kling! klang!—with a harder blow than all

    Will I try the Luck of Edenhall!”

    As the goblet ringing flies apart

    Suddenly cracks the vaulted hall;

    And through the rift, the wild flames start;

    The guests in dust are scattered all,

    With the breaking Luck of Edenhall!

    In storms the foe, with fire and sword;

    He in the night had scaled the wall,

    Slain by the sword lies the youthful Lord,

    But holds in his hand the crystal tall,

    The shattered Luck of Edenhall.

    On the morrow the butler gropes alone,

    The graybeard in the desert hall,

    He seeks his Lord’s burnt skeleton,

    He seeks in the dismal ruin’s fall

    The shards of the Luck of Edenhall.

    “The stone wall,” saith he, “doth fall aside,

    Down must the stately columns fall;

    Glass is this earth’s Luck and Pride;

    In atoms shall fall this earthly ball

    One day like the Luck of Edenhall!”