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


The Knight’s Leap

By Charles Kingsley (1819–1875)

“SO the foeman has fired the gate, men of mine,

And the water is spent and done;

Then bring me a cup of the red Ahr-wine;

I never shall drink but this one.

“And fetch me my harness, and saddle my horse,

And lead him me round to the door:

He must take such a leap to-night perforce

As horse never took before.

“I have lived by the saddle for years two score,

And if I must die on tree,

The old saddle-tree, which has borne me of yore,

Is the properest timber for me.

“I have lived my life, I have fought my fight,

I have drunk my share of wine;

From Trier to Cöln there was never a knight

Led a merrier life than mine.

“So now to show bishop and burgher and priest

How the Altenahr hawk can die,

If they smoke the old falcon out of his nest,

He must take to his wings and fly.”

He harnessed himself by the clear moonshine,

And he mounted his horse at the door,

And he drained such a cup of the red Ahr-wine

As never man drained before.

He spurred the old horse, and he held him tight,

And he leapt him out over the wall;

Out over the cliff, out into the night,

Three hundred feet of fall.

They found him next morning below in the glen,

And never a bone in him whole;

But Heaven may yet have more mercy than men

On such a bold rider’s soul.