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

Windeck, the Castle

The Lady of Castle Windeck

By Ludolf Adelbert von Chamisso (1781–1838)

Translated by W. C. Bryant

REIN in thy snorting charger!

That stag but cheats thy sight;

He is luring thee on to Windeck,

With his seeming fear and flight.

Now, where the mouldering turrets

Of the outer gate arise,

The knight gazed over the ruins

Where the stag was lost to his eyes.

The sun shone hot above him;

The castle was still as death;

He wiped the sweat from his forehead,

With a deep and weary breath.

“Who now will bring me a beaker

Of the rich old wine that here,

In the choked-up vaults of Windeck,

Has lain for many a year?”

The careless words had scarcely

Time from his lips to fall,

When the Lady of Castle Windeck

Came round the ivy-wall.

He saw the glorious maiden

In her snow-white drapery stand,

The bunch of keys at her girdle,

The beaker high in her hand.

He quaffed that rich old vintage,

With an eager lip he quaffed;

But he took into his bosom

A fire with the grateful draught.

Her eyes’ unfathomed brightness!

The flowing gold of her hair!

He folded his hands in homage,

And murmured a lover’s prayer.

She gave him a look of pity,

A gentle look of pain;

And quickly as he had seen her

She passed from his sight again.

And ever from that moment

He haunted the ruins there,

A sleepless, restless wanderer,

A watcher with despair.

Ghost-like and pale he wandered,

With a dreamy, haggard eye;

He seemed not one of the living,

And yet he could not die.

’T is said that the lady met him,

When many years had passed,

And, kissing his lips, released him

From the burden of life at last.