Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX. 1876–79.

Arlinkow, Finland


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

HIGH on a rock, whose castled shade

Darkened the lake below,

In ancient strength majestic stood

The towers of Arlinkow.

The fisher in the lake below

Durst never cast his net,

Nor ever swallow in its waves

Her passing wing would wet.

The cattle from its ominous banks

In wild alarm would run,

Though parched with thirst, and faint beneath

The summer’s scorching sun.

For sometimes, when no passing breeze

The long, lank sedges waved,

All white with foam, and heaving high,

Its deafening billows raved:—

And, when the tempest from its base

The rooted pine would shake,

The powerless storm unruffling swept

Across the calm dead lake.

And ever, then, when death drew near

The house of Arlinkow,

Its dark, unfathomed waters sent

Strange music from below,

The Lord of Arlinkow was old;

One only child had he:

Donica was the maiden’s name,

As fair as fair might be.

A bloom as bright as opening morn

Suffused her clear, white cheek;

The music of her voice was mild;

Her full, dark eyes were meek.

Far was her beauty known; for none

So fair could Finland boast:

Her parents loved the maiden much,—

Young Eberhard loved her most.

Together did they hope to tread

The pleasant path of life;

For now the day drew near to make

Donica Eberhard’s wife.

The eve was fair, and mild the air;

Along the lake they stray:

The eastern hill reflected bright

The tints of fading day;

And brightly o’er the water streamed

The liquid radiance wide:

Donica’s little dog ran on,

And gambolled at her side.

Youth, health, and love bloomed on her cheek:

Her full, dark eyes express,

In many a glance, to Eberhard

Her soul’s meek tenderness.

Nor sound was heard, nor passing gale

Sighed through the long, lank sedge;

The air was hushed; no little wave

Dimpled the water’s edge;—

When suddenly the lake sent forth

Its music from beneath,

And slowly o’er the waters sailed

The solemn sounds of death.

As those deep sounds of death arose,

Donica’s cheek grew pale,

And in the arms of Eberhard

The lifeless maiden fell.

Loudly the youth in terror shrieked,

And loud he called for aid,

And with a wild and eager look

Gazed on the lifeless maid.

But soon again did better thoughts

In Eberhard arise;

And he with trembling hope beheld

The maiden raise her eyes.

And, on his arm reclined, she moved

With feeble pace and slow,

And soon, with strength recovered, reached

The towers of Arlinkow.

Yet never to Donica’s cheeks

Returned their lively hue:

Her cheeks were deathy white and wan;

Her lips, a livid blue.

Her eyes, so bright and black of yore,

Were now more black and bright,

And beamed strange lustre in her face,

So deadly wan and white.

The dog that gambolled by her side,

And loved with her to stray,

Now at his altered mistress howled,

And fled in fear away.

Yet did the faithful Eberhard

Not love the maid the less:

He gazed with sorrow, but he gazed

With deeper tenderness.

And, when he found her health unharmed,

He would not brook delay,

But pressed the not unwilling maid

To fix the bridal day.

And, when at length it came, with joy

He hailed the bridal day.

And onward to the house of God

They went their willing way.

But when they at the altar stood,

And heard the sacred rite,

The hallowed tapers dimly streamed

A pale, sulphureous light.

And when the youth, with holy warmth,

Her hand in his did hold,

Sudden he felt Donica’s hand

Grow deadly damp and cold.

But loudly then he shrieked; for, lo!

A spirit met his view;

And Eberhard in the angel form

His own Donica knew.

That instant from her earthly frame

A demon howling fled,

And at the side of Eberhard

The livid corpse fell dead.