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



By Anonymous

ON a wooded comely mount

Stands the Plesse old and gray;

Proudly rise the lonely towers

In the landscape far away.

’T was a hot and haughty line,—

Three hundred years ’t is dead,—

Robber barons stern and bold,

From the earth their name is fled.

Save that these two ruined towers,

Grim memorials of the past,

Stand yet in gloomy pride

On the mountain strong and fast.

How these barons robbed the merchants

Of peaceful Göttingen near by!—

How the bauerfolk were pressed,

When bend they must or die!

Till at last the outraged merchants

And the patient bauerfolk

Stormed old Plesse in his castle

And broke their galling yoke:

Hanged the baron from his tower,

Put the firebrand to the rest,

Tumbled down his walls and prisons,

Rooted out the robber-nest.

But the Lady Maria Plesse

Was the true wife of her lord;

Rather death a thousand times

Than capture by this horde.

Quick, quick, to horse and fly!

Press thy infant to thy breast,

Off to Hardenburg with speed,

Give thy faithful beast no rest.

But see, alas! on every hand

The road with arméd men beset;

Now, lady, now thy courage prove,

As never woman’s has been yet!

She looks in wrath, but not despair,

Upon the conquering host,

Her wild heart leaps into her eyes,—

She sees Lord Plesse lost.

She glances round her sharp and firm,

And reins her neighing steed

Towards the lofty precipice:

Then comes a daring deed.

With whip and spur and cheering word

Her shrinking courser nears

The frowning depth, and piteous neighs,

Expressive of his fears.

But noble blood is in his veins,

He springs into the air,—

Aghast the struggling warriors pause,

And pray a silent prayer.

Full thirty feet they thunder down,

Mother, child, and horse;

And crowded faces peer below

To gaze upon the corse.

Hurrah! hurrah! from many a throat,

The deed is nobly done;

Maria has her infant saved,

And Plesse’s heir is won.