Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Moon-Dial

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


The Moon-Dial

By Robert Reinick (1805–1852)

Translated by H. W. Dulcken

TO the joyous feast has the ranger gone;

Through the darksome wood strides the poacher on.

The ranger’s wife and child are asleep;

Through their chamber-window the moonbeams peep.

And while they play on the wall so white,

The child grasps the mother in wild affright!

“O mother, where tarries my father dear?

I am so cold and so sick with fear.”

“My child, look not where the moonbeams creep;

But close thine eyes, child, and go to sleep.”

The moon’s light travels along the wall,

And now on the polished gun doth fall.

“Mother, that sound!—and hear’st thou not?—

’T was not father’s gun that fired the shot.”

“My child, look not where the moonbeams creep;

That was a dream, love,—go thou to sleep.”

The moonlight doth still through the chamber stream

On the father’s picture with pallid beam.

“Lord Jesus, guard us this fearful night!

Look, mother, my father is deadly white!”

Then sprang from her slumber the mother in dread!

And lo! they were bringing her husband—dead!