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

Kyffhäuser Mountains


By Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866)

Translated by H. W. Dulcken

THE ANCIENT Barbarossa

By magic spell is bound,—

Old Frederic the Kaiser,

In castle underground.

The Kaiser hath not perished,

He sleeps an iron sleep;

For, in the castle hidden,

He ’s sunk in slumber deep.

With him the chiefest treasures

Of empire hath he ta’en,

Wherewith, in fitting season,

He shall appear again.

The Kaiser he is sitting

Upon an ivory throne;

Of marble is the table

His head he resteth on.

His beard it is not flaxen,

Like living fire it shines,

And groweth through the table

Whereon his chin reclines.

As in a dream he noddeth,

Then wakes he, heavy-eyed,

And calls, with lifted finger,

A stripling to his side.

“Dwarf, get thee to the gateway,

And tidings bring, if still

Their course the ancient ravens

Are wheeling round the hill.

“For if the ancient ravens

Are flying still around,

A hundred years to slumber

By magic spell I ’m bound.”