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



By Rowland E. Egerton-Warburton (1804–1891)

  • The occurrence here related took place near the village of Gressenig, about a league from Stolberg, during the retreat of the French army, under Dumouriez.

  • BACK to the river so lately passed o’er,

    Fast as that river flows,

    France takes flight to the Rhine once more

    From the might of her Austrian foes.

    There was a young and lovely bride

    Mid the ranks of those that fled;

    She followed the steps and she fought by the side

    Of him she had lately wed.

    She had left her home in that fertile soil

    Where the vine and the olive grow,

    For fields of blood, and to share in the toil

    That her lover must undergo.

    Alas! that love which had nerved her heart

    To war and its daring deeds,

    Could not to her tender frame impart

    The strength a soldier needs.

    Now lingered that youth with his bride in the rear,

    For her limbs began to fail,

    And the hue of her cheek, though unchanged by fear,

    With weariness grew pale.

    He looked on her features in fond despair,

    As he held her to his breast;

    And her drooping head, as they tarried there,

    Sunk in his arms to rest.

    From that hurried sleep when she woke again,

    Far from her anxious sight

    The distant bands of her countrymen

    Had vanished in their flight.

    Then together they left the beaten track,

    And sought the forest shade:

    She wished from that host not a soldier back,

    While her own stood by to aid.

    Hid from the search of pursuers there,

    For days and nights they sped;

    The fruits of the forest their only fare,

    The leaves their only bed.

    Fondly they thought that those paths might guide

    Once more to their native land;

    Vain hope! what sees that startled bride?

    Why grasps she her lover’s hand?

    ’T is the levelled gun of a foeman near,

    Half hid by the copsewood screen;—

    She clung, as a shield, to that breast so dear,

    And the fatal flash was seen!

    They fell,—their heart’s blood stained the spot

    Where yon lonely cypress grows;

    Their bodies, pierced by that single shot,

    In a single grave repose.