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

Rhine, the River

Liebenstein and Sternenfels

By Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)

The Hostile Brothers

Anonymous translation

YONDER, on the mountain-summit,

Lies the castle wrapped in night;

In the valley gleam the sparkles,

Struck from clashing swords in fight.

Brothers they who thus in fury

Fierce encounter hand to hand;

Say, what cause could make a brother

’Gainst a brother turn his brand?

Countess Laura’s beaming glances

Did the fatal feud inflame,

Kindling both with equal passion

For the fair and noble dame.

Which hath gained the fair one’s favor?

Which shall win her for his bride?

Vain to scan her heart’s inclining;

Draw the sword, let that decide.

Wild and desperate grows the combat,

Clashing strokes like thunder fly;

Ah! beware, ye savage warriors!

Evil powers by night are nigh!

Woe for you, ye bloody brothers!

Woe for thee, thou bloody vale!

By each other’s swords expiring,

Sink the brothers, stark and pale.

Many a century has departed,

Many a race has found a tomb,

Yet from yonder rocky summits

Frown those moss-grown towers of gloom;

And within the dreary valley

Fearful sights are seen by night:

There, as midnight strikes, the brothers

Still renew their ghastly fight.