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

Mayence (Mentz, Mainz)

Henry Frauenlob

By Count Anton Alexander von Auersperg (Anastasius Grün) (1806–1876)

Anonymous translation

IN Mentz ’t is hushed and lonely, the streets are waste and drear,

And none but forms of sorrow, clad in mourning garbs, appear;

And only from the steeple sounds the death-bell’s sullen boom;

One street alone is crowded, and it leads but to the tomb.

And as the echo from the tower grows faint and dies away,

Unto the minster comes a still and sorrowful array,—

The old man and the young, the child, and many a maiden fair;

And every eye is dim with tears, in every heart is care.

Six virgins in the centre bear a coffin and a bier,

And to the rich high-altar steps with deadened chant draw near,

Where all around for saintly forms are dark escutcheons found,

With a cross of simple white displayed upon a raven ground.

And, placed that raven pall above, a laurel-garland green,

The minstrel’s verdant coronet, his meed of song, is seen;

His golden harp, beside it laid, a feeble murmur flings,

As the evening wind sweeps sadly through its now forsaken strings.

Who rests within his coffin there? For whom this general wail?

Is some beloved monarch gone, that old and young look pale?

A king, in truth,—a king of song! and Frauenlob his name;

And thus in death his fatherland must celebrate his fame.

Unto the fairest flowers of heaven that bloom this earth along,

To women’s worth, did he on earth devote his deathless song;

And though the minstrel hath grown old, and faded be his frame,

They yet requite what he in life hath done for love and them.