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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.


A Legend of Koesen Bridge

By George Browning (1813?–1878)

LONG, long ago in Thüringen,

Upon the Saale’s shore

A shepherd loved a shepherdess:

His love was triéd sore;

For on the left bank he his flock

Did tend, while on the right

Was hers,—but yet across the stream

Their true love they did plight.

One day Count Rudolph riding by,

It pleased him to command

His vassals here to build a bridge

For his Thüringen land.

Soon was the work begun, huge stones

Were lowered in the stream,

And the shepherd lad he danced to think

Fulfilled might be his dream.

Though in the building of the bridge

Full many a year had flown,

The love of that true, loving pair

Had but intenser grown.

At length the road across the stream

Was free; to yonder side

The shepherd drove his little flock,

There to embrace his bride.

The shepherdess was eager too

To meet her own true, love,

So towards the new-built bridge her flock

She with a full heart drove,—

And on the bridge these lovers met,

They vowed they ne’er would part,—

To seal their love then each one carved

Upon the brink a heart.

Those lovers ’twain were soon relieved

Of separation’s woe,

And their two flocks from that day forth,

Together grazed below.

E’en to this day those hearts remain

Carved there,—do not forget

In passing o’er the bridge to look—

’T is where those lovers met!