Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Château Boncourt

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.


Château Boncourt

By Ludolf Adalbert von Chamisso (1781–1838)

Anonymous translation

A DREAM wafts me back to childhood,

And I shake my hoary head.

How ye crowd on my soul, ye visions

I thought were forever fled!

There glistens o’er dusky foliage

A lordly pile elate;

I know those towers and turrets,

The bridges, the massive gate.

Welcoming, kindly faces

The armorial lions show;

I greet each old acquaintance

As in through the arch I go.

There lies the Sphinx at the fountain;

There darkly the fig-tree gleams;

’T was yonder, behind those windows,

I was rapt in my earliest dreams.

I enter the chapel, and look for

My ancestor’s hallowed grave;

’T is here, and on yonder pillar

Is hanging his antique glaive.

I try to decipher the legend,

But a mist is upon my eyes,

Though the light from the painted window

Full on the marble lies.

Home of my fathers, how plainly

Thou standest before me now!

Yet thou from the earth art vanished,

And over thee goes the plough.

Fruitful, dear earth, be thou ever;

My fondest blessings on thee!

And a double blessing go with him

That ploughs thee, whoe’er he be.

For me, to my destiny yielding,

I will go with my harp in my hand,

And wander the wide world over,

Singing from land to land.