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


The Romance of Cologne

By Thomas Hood (1799–1845)

’T IS even—on the pleasant banks of Rhine

The thrush is singing and the dove is cooing;

A youth and maiden on the turf recline

Alone,—and he is wooing.

Yet wooes in vain, for to the voice of love

No kindly sympathy the maid discovers,

Though round them both, and in the air above,

The tender spirit hovers.

Untouched by lovely Nature and her laws,

The more he pleads, more coyly she represses;

Her lip denies, and now her hand withdraws,

Rejecting his caresses.

Fair is she as the dreams young poets weave,

Bright eyes and dainty lips and tresses curly,

In outward loveliness a child of Eve,

But cold as nymph of Lurley.

The more Love tries her pity to engross,

The more she chills him with her strange behavior;

Now tells her beads, now gazes on the cross

And image of the Saviour.

Forth goes the lover with a farewell moan,

As from the presence of a thing inhuman;—

O, what unholy spell hath turned to stone

The young warm heart of woman!


’T is midnight,—and the moonbeam, cold and wan,

On bower and river quietly is sleeping,

And o’er the corse of a self-murdered man

The maiden fair is weeping.

In vain she looks into his glassy eyes,

No pressure answers to her hands so pressing;

In her fond arms impassively he lies,

Clay-cold to her caressing.

Despairing, stunned, by her eternal loss,

She flies to succor that may best beseem her,

But, lo! a frowning figure veils the cross,

And hides the blest Redeemer!

With stern right hand it stretches forth a scroll,

Wherein she reads, in melancholy letters,

The cruel, fatal pact that placed her soul

And her young heart in fetters.

“Wretch! sinner! renegade! to truth and God,

Thy holy faith for human love to barter!”

No more she hears, but on the bloody sod

Sinks, Bigotry’s last martyr!

And side by side the hapless lovers lie;

Tell me, harsh priest! by yonder tragic token,

What part hath God in such a bond, whereby

Or hearts or vows are broken?