Lost Galleon (1867)/Legends of the Rhine

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THE LEGENDS OF THE RHINE.


Beetling walls with ivy grown,
Frowning heights of mossy stone—
Turret, with its flaunting flag
Flung from battlemented crag;
Dungeon-keep and fortalice
Looking down a precipice
O'er the darkly glancing wave
By the Lurlie-haunted cave;
Robber haunt and maiden bower
Home of Love, and Crime, and Power—
That's the scenery, in fine,
Of the Legends of the Rhine.

One bold Baron, double-dyed,
Bigamist and Parricide
And, as most the stories run,
Partner of the Evil One;
Injured innocence in white—
Fair, but idiotic quite—
Wringing of her lily hands;
Valor fresh from Paynim lands.
Abbot ruddy, hermit pale
Minstrel, fraught with many a tale,
Are the actors that combine
In the Legends of the Rhine.

Bell-mouthed flagons round a board,
Suits of armor, shield and sword,
Kerchief with its bloody stain,
Ghosts of the untimely slain,
Thunderclap and clanking chain,
Headsman's block and shining axe,
Thumbscrews, crucifixes, racks,
Midnight-tolling chapel bell
Heard across the gloomy fell.
These and other pleasant facts,
Are the properties that shine
In the Legends of the Rhine.

Maledictions, whispered vows,
Underneath the linden boughs;
Murder, Bigamy and Theft,
Travelers of goods bereft,
Rapine, Pillage, Arson, Spoil—
Everything but honest toil,
Are the deeds that best define
Every Legend of the Rhine:

That Virtue always meets reward,
But quicker, when it wears a sword;
That Providence has special care
Of gallant knight and lady fair;
That villians, as a thing of course
Are always haunted by remorse—
Is the moral I opine,
Of the Legends of the Rhine.