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

Lorraine (Lothringen)


By Frederick K. Crosby (1845–1874)

Part I
SWEETLY the June-time twilights wane

Over the hills of fair Lorraine,

Sweetly the mellow moonbeams fall

O’er rose-wreathed cottage and ivied wall;

But never dawned a brighter eve

Than the holy night of St. Genevieve,

And never moonlight fairer fell

Over the banks of the blue Moselle.

Richly the silver splendor shines,

Spangles with sheen the clustered vines,

And rests in benediction fair,

On midnight tresses and golden hair.

Golden hair and midnight tress

Mingle in tender lovingness,

While the evening breezes breathe upon

Marie and Jean, and their hearts are one!

The spell of silence lifts at last:

“Marie, the Saint’s sweet day is past,

“The vesper chimes have died away,

Where shall we be on New Year’s day?”

With answering throb heart thrilled to heart,

Hand met hand with sudden start,

For in each soul shone the blessed thought,

The vision fair of a little cot

Nestled beneath the lilac spray,

Waiting the blissful bridal day.

Low bowed in tearful silence there,

Their hearts rose up in solemn prayer;

And still the mellow lustre fell

Over the banks of the blue Moselle,

And still the moonlight shone upon

Marie and Jean, and their hearts were one!

Part II
Six red moons have rolled away,

And the sun is shining on New Year’s day.

Over the hills of fair Lorraine,

Heaps of ashes, and rows of slain;

Where merrily rang the light guitar,

The angry tramp of the red hussar

Flings on the midnight’s shrinking breath

The direful notes of the dance of death!

Underneath the clustering vines

The sentry’s glittering sabre shines;

Over the banks of the blue Moselle

Rain of rocket and storm of shell!

Where, to-day, is the forehead fair

Crowned with masses of midnight hair?

A summer’s twilight saw him fall

Dead on Verdun’s leaguered wall.

Where, alas! is the little cot?

Ask the blackened walls of Gravelotte.

Under the lilac broods alone

A maid whose heart is turned to stone;

Who sits, with folded fingers, dumb,

And meekly prays that her time may come.

Yet see! the death-god’s baleful star,

And war’s black eagle screams afar!

And lo! the New Year’s shadows wane

Over the hills of sad Lorraine.