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


A Rhine Legend

By Emanuel Geibel (1815–1884)

Translated by W. W. Caldwell

BY the Rhine, the emerald river,

How softly glows the night!

The vine-clad hills are lying

In the moonbeams’ golden light.

And on the hillside walketh

A kingly shadow down,

With sword and purple mantle,

And heavy golden crown.

’T is Charlemagne, the emperor,

Who, with a powerful hand,

For many a hundred years

Hath ruled in German land.

From out his grave in Aachen

He hath arisen there,

To bless once more his vineyards,

And breathe their fragrant air.

By Rudesheim, on the water,

The moon doth brightly shine,

And buildeth a bridge of gold

Across the emerald Rhine.

The emperor walketh over,

And all along the tide

Bestows his benediction

On the vineyards far and wide.

Then turns he back to Aachen

In his grave-sleep to remain,

Till the New Year’s fragrant clusters

Shall call him forth again.

Then let us fill our glasses,

And drink, with the golden wine,

The German hero-spirit,

And its hero-strength divine.