A Tale of the Secret Tribunal/A Tale of the Secret Tribunal II

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Night veil'd the mountains of the vine,
And storms had rous'd the foaming Rhine,
And, mingling with the pinewood's roar,
Its billows hoarsely chaf'd the shore,
While glen and cavern, to their moans,
Gave answer, with a thousand tones:
Then, as the voice of storms appall'd
The peasant of the Odenwald*[1],
Shuddering he deem’d, that, far on high,
'Twas the wild huntsman rushing by,
Riding the blast with phantom speed,
With cry of hound, and tramp of steed,
While his fierce train, as on they flew,
Their horns in savage chorus blew,
Till rock, and tower, and convent round,
Rung to the shrill unearthly sound.

Vain dreams! far other footsteps trac'd
The forest paths, in secret haste;
Far other sounds were on the night,
Though lost amidst the tempest's might,
That fill'd the echoing earth and sky,
With its own awful harmony.

There stood alone and ruin'd fane,
Far in the Odenwald's domain,
Midst wood and rock, a deep recess
Of still and shadowy loneliness.
Long grass its pavement had o'ergrown,
The wild-flower wav'd o'er the altar-stone,
The night-wind rock'd the tottering pile,
As it swept along the roofless aisle,
For the forest-boughs, and the stormy sky,
Were all that Minster's canopy.

Many a broken image lay
In the mossy mantle of decay,
And partial light the moonbeams darted,
O'er trophies of the long-departed;
For there the chiefs of other days,
The mighty slumber'd, with their praise:
'Twas long since aught but the dews of Heaven
A tribute to their bier had given,
Long since a sound, but the moaning blast
Above their voiceless home had pass'd.

So slept the proud—and with them all
The records of their fame and fall;
Helmet, and shield, and sculptur'd crest,
Adorn'd the dwelling of their rest,
And emblems of the Holy Land
Were carv'd by some forgotten hand;
But the helm was broke, the shield defaced,
And the crest through weeds might scarce be traced;
And the scatter'd leaves of the northern pine
Half hid the palm of Palestine.
So slept the glorious—lowly laid,
As the peasant in his native shade,
Some hermit's tale, some shepherd's rhyme,
All that high deeds could win from Time!

What footsteps move, with measur'd tread,
Amidst those chambers of the dead?
What silent, shadowy beings glide
Low tombs and mouldering shrines beside,
Peopling the wild and solemn scene
With forms well suited to its mien?
Wanderer, away! let none intrude,
On their mysterious solitude!
Lo! these are they, that awful band,
The Secret Watchers of the land,
They that unknown, and uncontroll'd,
Their dark and dread tribunal hold.
They meet not in the monarch's dome,
They meet not in the chieftain's home,
But where unbounded o'er their heads,
All heaven magnificently spreads,
And from its depths of cloudless blue
The eternal stars their deeds may view!
Where'er the flowers of the mountain-sod
By roving foot are seldom trod;
Where'er the pathless forest waves,
Or the ivy clothes forsaken graves;
Where'er wild legends mark a spot,
By mortals shunn'd, but unforgot,
There, circled by the shades of night,
They judge of crimes that shrink from light,
And guilt, that deems its secret known
To the One unslumbering eye alone,
Yet hears their name with a sudden start,
As an icy touch had chill'd its heart,
For the shadow of th' avenger's hand
Rests dark and heavy on the land.

There rose a voice from the ruin's gloom,
And woke the echoes of the tomb,
As if the noble hearts beneath
Sent forth deep answers to its breath.

    "When the midnight stars are burning,
And the dead to earth returning;
When the spirits of the blest
Rise upon the good man's rest;
When each whisper of the gale
Bids the cheek of guilt turn pale;
In the shadow of the hour,
That o'er the soul hath deepest power,
Why thus meet we, but to call
For judgment on the criminal?
Why, but the doom of guilt to seal,
And point th' avenger's holy steel?
A fearful oath has bound our souls,
A fearful power our arm controls!
There is an ear, awake on high,
E'en to thought's whispers, ere they die;
There is an eye, whose beam pervades
All depths, all deserts, and all shades;
That ear hath heard our awful vow,
That searching eye is on us now!
Let Him, whose heart is unprofan'd,
Whose hand no blameless blood hath stain'd—
Let Him, whose thoughts no record keep
Of crimes, in silence buried deep,
Here, in the face of Heaven, accuse
The guilty whom its wrath pursues!"
'Twas hush'd—that voice of thrilling sound,
And a dead silence reign'd around.
Then stood forth one, whose dim-seen form,
Tower'd like a phantom in the storm;
Gathering his mantle, as a cloud,
with its dark folds his face to shroud,
Through pillar'd arches on he pass'd,
With stately step, and paus'd at last,
Where, on the altar's mouldering stone,
The fitful moonbeam brightly shone;
Then on the fearful stillness broke
Low, solemn tones, as thus he spoke;

    "Before that eye, whose glance pervades
All depths, all deserts, and all shades;

Heard by that car, awake on high
E’en to thought's whispers ere they die;
With all a mortal's awe I stand,
Yet with pure heart, and stainless hand,
To Heaven I lift that hand, and call
For judgment on the criminal:
The earth is dyed with bloodshed's hues,
It cries for vengeance—I accuse!"

    "Name thou the guilty! say for whom
Those claim'st th' inevitable doom!"

    "Albert of Lindheim—to the skies
The voice of blood against him cries;
A brother's blood—his hand is dyed
With the deep stain of fratricide.
One hour, one moment, hath reveal'd,
What years in darkness had conceal'd,
But all in vain—the gulph of time
Refus'd to close upon his crime;
And Guilt, that slept on flowers, shall know,
The earthquake was but hush'd below!

Here, where amidst the noble dead,
Aw'd by their fame, he dare not tread,
Where, left by him to dark decay,
Their trophies moulder fast away;
Around us and beneath us lie
The relics of his ancestry;
The chiefs of Lindheim's ancient race,
Each in his last low dwelling-place:
But one is absent-o’er his grave
The palmy shades of Syria wave;
Far distant from his native Rhine,
He died unmourn'd in Palestine;
The Pilgrim sought the Holy Land,
To perish by a brother's hand!
Peace to his soul! though o'er his bed
No dirge be pour’d, no tear be shed,
Though all he lov’d his name forget,
They live who shall avenge him yet!"

    "Accuser! how to thee alone
Became the fearful secret known?"

    "There is an hour when vain Remorse
First wakes in her eternal force;
When pardon may not be retriev'd,
When conscience will not be deceiv'd.
He that beheld the victim bleed,
Beheld, and aided in the deed—
When earthly fears had lost their power,
Reveal'd the tale in such an hour,
Unfolding, with his latest breath,
All that gave keener pangs to death."

    "By Him, th' All-seeing and Unseen,
Who is for ever, and hath been,
And by th' Atoner's cross ador'd,
And by th' Avenger’s holy sword,
By truth eternal and divine,
Amuser! wilt thou swear to thine?"
"The cross upon my heart is prest,
I hold the dagger to my breast;

If false the tale whose truth I swear,
Be mine the murderer's doom to bear!"

Then sternly rose the dread reply—
"His days are number'd—he must die!
There is no shadow of the night,
So deep as to conceal his flight;
Earth doth not hold so lone a waste,
But there his footstep shall be trac'd;
Devotion hath no shrine so blest,
That there in safety he may rest.
Where'er he treads, let Vengeance there
Around him spread her secret snare!
In the busy haunts of men,
In the still and shadowy glen,
When the social board is crown'd,
When the wine-cup sparkles round;
When his couch of sleep is prest,
And a dream his spirit's guest;
When his bosom knows no fear,
Let the dagger still be near,
Till, sudden as the lightning's dart,
Silent and swift it reach his heart!
One warning voice, one fearful word,
Ere morn beneath his towers be heard,
Then vainly may the guilty fly,
Unseen, unaided—he must die!
Let those he loves prepare his tomb,
Let friendship lure him to his doom!
Perish his deeds, his name, his race,
Without a record or a trace!
Away! be watchful, swift, and free,
To wreak th' invisible's decree.
'Tis pass’d—th' avenger claims his prey,
On to the chase of death—away!"

And all was still—the sweeping blast
Caught not a whisper as it pass'd;
Tho shadowy forms were seen no more,
The tombs deserted as before;
And the wide forest wav'd immense,
In dark and lone magnificence
In Lindheim’s towers the feast had clos'd;
The song was hush'd, the bard repos'd;
Sleep settled on the weary guest,
And the castle's lord retir'd to rest.
To rest!—the captive doom'd to die
May slumber, when his hour is nigh;
The seaman, when the billows foam,
Rock'd on the mast, may dream of home;
The warrior, on the battle's eve,
May win from care a short reprieve;
But earth and heaven alike deny
Their peace to guilt's o'erwearied eye;
And night, that brings to grief a calm,
To toil a pause, to pain a balm,
Hath spells terrific in her course,
Dread sounds and shadows for remorse,
Voices, that long from earth had fled,
And steps and echoes from the dead;
And many a dream, whose forms arise,
Like a darker world's realities!
Call them not vain illusions—born,
But for the wise and brave to scorn!

Heaven, that the penal doom defers;
Hath yet its thousand ministers,
To scourge the heart, unseen, unknown,
In shade, in silence, and alone,
Concentrating, in one brief hour,
Ages of retribution's power!

If thou wouldst know the lot of those,
Whose souls are dark with guilty woes,
Ah! seek them not where pleasure’s throng
Are listening to the voice of song;
Seek them not where the banquet glows,
And the red vineyard's nectar flows;
There mirth may flush the hollow cheek,
The eye of feverish joy may speak,
And smiles, the ready mask of pride,
The canker-worm within may hide:
Heed not those signs! they but delude;
Follow, and mark their solitude!

The song is hush'd, the feast is done,
And Lindheim's lord remains alone.
Alone, in silence and unrest,
With the dread secret of his breast;
Alone with anguish and with fear;
—There needs not an avenger here!
Behold him!—Why that sudden start?
Thou hear'st the beating of thy heart!
Thou hear'st the night-wind's hollow sigh,
Thou hear'st the rustling tapestry!
No sound but these may near thee be;
Sleep! all things earthly sleep—but thee.

    No! there are murmurs on the air,
And a voice is heard that cries—"Despair!"
And he who trembles fain would deem
'Twas the whisper of a waking dream.
Was it but this?—again ’tis there,
Again is heard—"Despair! Despair!"
'Tis past—its tones have slowly died
In echoes on the mountain side;
Heard but by him, they rose, they fell,
He knew their fearful meaning well,
And, shrinking from the midnight gloom,
As from the shadow of the tomb,
Yet shuddering, turn'd in pale dismay,
When broke the dawn's first kindling ray,
And sought, amidst the forest wild,
Some shade, where sunbeam never smil'd.

Yes! hide thee, Guilt!—the laughing morn
Wakes in a heaven of splendour born!
The storms that shook the mountain crest
Have sought their viewless world of rest.
High from his cliffs, with ardent gaze,
Soars the young eagle in the blaze,
Exulting, as he wings his way,
To revel in the fount of day,
And brightly past his banks of vine,
In glory flows the monarch Rhine;

And joyous peals the vintage song
His wild luxuriant shores along,
As peasant-bands, from rock and dell,
Their strains of choral transport swell;
And cliffs of bold fantastic forms,
Aspiring to the realm of storms;
And woods around, and waves below,
Catch the red Orient's deepening glow,
That lends each tower, and convent-spire,
A tinge of its ethereal fire.

Swell high the song of festal hours!
Deck ye the shrine with living flowers!
Let music o'er the waters breathe!
Let beauty twine the bridal wreath!
While she, whose blue eye laughs in light,
Whose cheek with love's own hue is bright,
The fair-hair'd maid of Lindheim's hall,
Wakes to her nuptial festival.
Oh! who hath seen, in dreams that soar
To worlds the soul would fain explore,
When, for her own blest country pining,
Its beauty o'er her thought is shining,
Some form of heaven, whose cloudless eye,
Was all one beam of extacy?
Whose glorious brow no traces wore
Of guilt, or sorrow known before?
Whose smile, undimm'd by aught of earth,
A sunbeam of immortal birth,
Spoke of bright realms, far distant lying,
Where love and joy are both undying?

E'en thus—a vision of delight,
A beam to gladden mortal sight,
A flower whose head no storm had bow'd,
Whose leaves ne'er droop'd beneath a cloud;
Thus, by the world unstain'd, untried,
Seem'd that belov'd and lovely Bride;
A being all too soft and fair,
One breath of earthly woe to bear!
Yet lives there many a lofty mind,
In light and fragile form enshrin'd;
And oft smooth cheek, and smiling eye,
Hide strength to suffer and to die!
Judge not of woman's heart in hours
That strew her path with summer-flowers,
When joy's full cup is mantling high,
When flattery's blandishments are nigh;
Judge her not then! within her breast
Are energies unseen, that rest!
They wait their call—and grief alone
May make the soul's deep secrets known.
Yes! let her smile, midst pleasure's train,
Leading the reckless and the vain!
Firm on the scaffold she hath stood,
Besprinkled with the martyr's blood;
Her voice the patriot's heart hath steel'd,
Her spirit glow'd on battle-field;
Her courage freed, from dungeon's gloom,
The captive brooding o'er his doom;
Her faith the fallen monarch sav'd,
Her love the tyrant's fury brav'd;

No scene of danger or despair,
But she hath won her triumph there!

    Away! nor cloud the festal morn
With thoughts of boding sadness borne!
Far other lovelier dreams are thine,
Fair daughter of a noble line!
Young Ella! from thy tower, whose height
Hath caught the flush of Eastern light,
Watching, while soft the morning air,
Parts on thy brow the sunny hair;
Yon bark, that o'er the calm blue tide,
Bears thy lov'd warrior to his bride,
He, whose high deeds romantic praise
Hath hallow'd with a thousand lays.

He came—that youthful chief—he came
That favour'd lord of love and fame!
His step was hurried—as if one
Who seeks a voice within to shun;
His cheek was varying, and express'd
The conflict of a troubled breast;
His eye was anxious—doubt, and dread,
And a stern grief, might there be read;
Yet all that mark'd his alter'd mien
Seem'd struggling to be still unseen.

With shrinking heart, with nameless fear,
Young Ella met the brow austere,
And the wild look, which seem'd to fly
The timid welcome of her eye.
Was that a lover's gaze, which chill'd
The soul, its awful sadness thrill'd?
A lover's brow, so darkly fraught,
With all the heaviest gloom of thought?
She trembled—ne'er to grief inur'd,
By its dread lessons ne'er matur'd;
Unus’d to meet a glance of less
Than all a parent's tenderness,
Shuddering she felt, through every sense,
The death-like faintness of suspense.

High o'er the windings of the flood,
On Lindheim's terrac'd rocks they stood,
Whence the free sight afar might stray,
O'er that imperial River's way,
Which, rushing from its Alpine source,
Makes one long triumph of its course,
Rolling in tranquil grandeur by,
Midst Nature's noblest pageantry.
But they, o'er that majestic scene,
With clouded brow and anxious mien,
In silence gaz'd:—for Ella's heart
Fear'd its own terrors to impart;
And he, who vainly strove to hide
His pangs, with all a warrior's pride,
Seem'd gathering courage to unfold
Some fearful tale that must be told.

At length his mien, his voice, obtain'd
A calm, that seem'd by conflicts gain'd,
As thus he spoke—"Yes! gaze a while
On the bright scenes that round thee smile;

For if thy love be firm and true,
Soon must thou bid their charms adieu!
A fate hangs o'er us, whose decree
Must bear me far from them or thee;
Our path is one of snares and fear,
I lose thee if I linger here!
Droop not, belov'd: thy home shall rise
As fair, beneath far distant skies;
As fondly tenderness and truth
Shall cherish there thy rose of youth.
But speak! and when yon hallow'd shrine
Hath heard the vows which make thee mine,
Say, wilt thou fly with me, no more
To tread thine own lov'd mountain-shore,
But share and soothe, repining not,
The bitterness of exile's lot?"

    "Ulric! thou know'st how dearly lov'd
The scenes where first my childhood rov'd;
The woods, the rocks, that tower supreme
Above our own majestic stream,
The halls where first my heartbeat high
To the proud songs of chivalry.
All, all are dear—yet these are ties
Affection well may sacrifice;
Lov'd though they be, where'er thou art,
There is the country of my heart!
Yet, is there one, who, 'reft of me,
Were lonely as a blasted tree;
One, who still hop'd my hand should close
His eyes, in Nature's last repose;
Eve gathers round him—on his brow
Already rests the wintry snow;
His form is bent, his features wear
The deepening lines of age and care,
His faded eye hath lost its fire;
Thou wouldst not tear me from my sire?
Yet tell me all—thy woes impart,
My Ulric! to a faithful heart,
Which sooner far—oh! doubt not this—
Would share thy pangs, than others' bliss."

    "Ella, what wouldst thou?—'tis a tale
Will make that cheek as marble pale!
Yet what avails it to conceal
All thou too soon must know and feel?
It must, it must be told—prepare,
And nerve that gentle heart to bear!
But I—Oh! was it then for me
The herald of thy woes to be;
Thy soul's bright calmness to destroy,
And wake thee first from dreams of joy?
Forgive!—I would not ruder tone
Should make the fearful tidings known,
I would not that unpitying eyes
Should coldly watch thine agonies!
Better 'twere mine—that task severe,
To cloud thy breast with grief and fear.

    "Hast thou not heard, in legends old,
Wild tales that turn the life-blood cold,
Of those who meet in cave or glen,
Far from the busy walks of men;

Those who mysterious vigils keep,
When earth is wrapt in shades and sleep,
To judge of crimes, like Him on high,
In stillness and in secresy?
Th' unknown avengers, whose decree
'Tis fruitless to resist or flee?
Whose name hath cast a spell of pow'r,
O'er peasant's cot and chieftain's tow'r?
Thy sire—Oh, Ella! hope is fled!
Think of him, mourn him, as the dead!
Their sentence, their's, hath seal'd his doom,
And thou may'st weep as o'er his tomb!
Yes, weep! relieve thy heart opprest,
Pour forth thy sorrows on my breast!
Thy cheek is cold—thy tearless eye
Seems fix'd in frozen vacancy;
Oh! gaze not thus—thy silence break,
Speak! if 'tis but in anguish—speak!"

She spoke at length, in accents low,
Of wild and half-indignant woe:
—"He doom'd to perish! He decreed
By their avenging arm to bleed!
He, the renown'd in holy fight,
The Paynim's scourge, the Christian’s might !
Ulric! What mean'st thou?—not a thought
Of that high mind with guilt is fraught!
Say, for which glorious trophy won,
Which deed of martial prowess done;
Which battle-field, in days gone by,
Gain’d by his valour, must he die?
Away! 'tis not his lofty name
Their sentence hath consign'd to shame;
'Tis not his life they seek—recall
Thy words, or say, he shall not fall!"

Then sprung forth tears, whose blest relief
Gave pleading softness to her grief:
"And wilt thou not, by all the ties
Of our affianced love," she cries,
"By all my soul hath fix'd on thee,
Of cherish'd hope for years to be,
Wilt thou not aid him? wilt not thou
Shield his grey head from danger now?
And didst thou not, in childhood's morn,
That saw our young affection born,
Hang round his neck, and climb his knee,
Sharing his parent-smile with me?
Kind, gentle Ulric! best-belov’d!
Now be thy faith in danger prov’d!
Though snares and terrors round him wait,
Thou wilt not leave him to his fate!
Turn not away in cold disdain!
—Shall thine own Ella plead in vain?
How art thou chang'd! and must I bear
That frown, that stern, averted air?
What mean they?"

    "Maiden! need'st thou ask?
These features wear no specious mask!

Doth sorrow mark this brow and eye
With characters of mystery?
This—this is anguish!—can it be?
And plead'st thou for thy sire to me?
Know, though thy prayers a death-pang give,
He must not meet my sight—and live!
Well may'st thou shudder!—of the Band
Who watch in secret o'er the land,
Whose thousand swords ’tis vain to shun,
Th' unknown, th' unslumb’ring—I am one!
My arm defend him!—what were then
Each vow that binds the souls of men,
Sworn on the cross, and deeply seal'd
By rites that may not be reveal'd?
—A breeze's breath, an echo's tone,
A passing sound, forgot when gone!
Nay, shrink not from me—I would fly,
That he by other hands may die!
What! think'st thou I would live to trace,
Abhorrence in that angel-face?
Beside thee should the lover stand,
The father's life-blood on his brand?
No! I have bade my home adieu,
For other scenes mine eyes must view;
Look on me, love! now all is known,
O Ella! must I fly alone?"

    But she was chang'd; scarce heav'd her breath;
She stood like one prepar'd for death,
And wept no more; then, casting down
From her fair brows the nuptial crown,
As joy's last vision from her heart,
Cried with sad firmness—"We must part!
'Tis past—these bridal flow'rs, so frail,
They may not brook one stormy gale.
Survive—too dear as still thou art,
Each hope they imag'd—we must part!
One struggle yet—and all is o'er—
We love—and may we meet no more!
Oh! little know'st thou of the pow'r
Affection lends in danger's hour,
To deem that fate should thus divide
My footsteps from a father's side!
Speed thou to other shores—I go
To share his wand'rings and his woe;
Where'er his path of thorns may lead,
Whate'er his doom, by Heaven decreed,
If there be guardian Powers above,
To nerve the heart of filial love;
If courage may be won by pray'r,
Or strength by duty—I can bear!
Farewell!—though in that sound be years
Of blighted hopes and fruitless tears,
Though the soul vibrate to its knell
Of joys departed—yet, farewell!"

Was this the maid who seem’d, ere-while,
Born but to meet life's vernal smile?
A being, almost on the wing,
As an embodied breeze of spring?

A child of beauty and of bliss,
Sent from some purer sphere to this,
Not, in her exile, to sustain
The trial of one earthly pain;
But, as a sunbeam, on to move,
Wak'ning all hearts to joy and love?
That airy form, with footsteps free,
And radiant glance—could this be she?
From her fair cheek the rose was gone,
Her eye's blue sparkle thence had flown,
Of all its vivid glow bereft,
Each playful charm her lip had left;
But what were these? on that young face?
Far nobler beauty fill'd their place!
'Twas not the pride that scorns to bend,
Though all the bolts of Heaven descend;
Not the fierce grandeur of despair,
That half exults its fate to dare;
Nor that wild energy which leads
Th' enthusiast to fanatic deeds;
Her mien, by sorrow unsubdued,
Was fix'd in silent fortitude;
Not in its haughty strength elate,
But calmly, mournfully sedate.
'Twas strange, yet lovely to behold
That spirit in so fair a mould,
As if a rose-tree's tender form,
Unbent, unbroke, should meet the storm.

One look she cast, where firmness strove
With the deep pangs of parting love;
One tear a moment in her eye
Dimm'd the pure light of constancy;
And pressing, as to still her heart,
She tum'd in silence to depart.
But Ulric, as to phrenzy wrought,
Then started from his trance of thought:
"Stay thee, oh! stay—it must not be—
All, all were well resign'd for thee!
Stay! till my soul each vow disown,
But those which make me thine alone!
If there be guilt—there is no shrine
More holy than that heart of thine;
There be my crime absolv'd—I take
The cup of shame for thy dear sake.
Of shame! oh no! to virtue true,
Where thou art, there is glory too!
Go now! and to thy sire impart,
He hath a shield in Ulric’s heart,
And thou a home!—remain, or flee,
In life, in death—I follow Thee!"

"There shall not rest one cloud of shame,
Oh Ulric! on thy lofty name;
There shall not one accusing word
Against thy spotless faith he heard!
Thy path is where the brave rush on,
Thy course must be where palms are won;
Where banners wave, and falchions glare,
Son of the mighty! be thou there!

Think on the glorious names that shine
Along thy sire's majestic line;
Oh, last of that illustrious race!
Thou wert not born to meet disgrace!
Well, well I know each grief, each pain,
Thy spirit nobly could sustain;
E'en I unshrinking see them near,
And what hast thou to do with fear?
But when hath warriors calmly borne
The cold and bitter smile of scorn?
'Tis not for thee—thy soul hath force
To cope with all things—but remorse;
And this my brightest thought shall be,
Thou hast not brav'd its pangs for me.
Go! break thou not one solemn vow;
Clos'd be the fearful conflict now;
Go! but forget not how my heart
Still at thy name will proudly start,
When chieftains hear, and minstrels tell
Thy deeds of glory—fare thee well!"

And thus they parted—why recall
The scene of anguish known to all?
The burst of tears, the blush of pride,
That fain those fruitless tears would hide;
The lingering look, the last embrace,
Oh! what avails it to retrace?
They parted—in that bitter word
A thousand tones of grief are heard,
Whose deeply-seated echoes rest
In the far cells of every breast;
Who hath not known, who shall not know
That keen, yet most familiar woe?
Where'er affection‘s home is found,
It meets her on the holy ground;
The cloud of every summer-hour,
The canker'd worm of every flower;
Who but hath prov'd, or yet shall prove,
That mortal agony of love?

The Autumn moon slept bright and still
On fading wood and purple hill;
The vintager had hush'd his lay,
The fisher shunn'd the blaze of day,
And silence, o'er each green recess,
Brooded in misty sultriness.
But soon a low and measur'd sound
Broke on the deep repose around;
From Lindheim's towers a glancing oar
Bade the stream ripple to the shore.
Sweet was that sound of waves which parted
The fond, the true, the noble-hearted;
And smoothly seem'd the bark to glide,
And brightly flow'd the reckless tide,
Though, mingling with its current, fell
The last warm tears of love's farewell.

  1. * The Odenwald, a forest-district near the Rhine, adjoining the territories of Darmstadt.