Records of Woman: with Other Poems/The Effigies

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For other versions of this work, see The Effigies.


Der rasche Kampf verewigt einen Mann:
Er falle gleich, so preiset ihn das Lied.
Allein die Thränen, die unendlichen
Der überbliebnen, der verlass'nen Frau,
Zählt keine Nachwelt.

Warrior!—whose image on thy tomb,
    With shield and crested head,
Sleeps proudly in the purple gloom
    By the stain'd window shed;
The records of thy name and race
    Have faded from the stone,
Yet, thro' a cloud of years I trace
    What thou hast been and done.

A banner, from its flashing spear
    Flung out o'er many a fight,
A war-cry ringing far and clear,
    And strong to turn the flight;
An arm that bravely bore the lance
    On for the holy shrine;
A haughty heart and a kingly glance—
    Chief! were not these things thine:

A lofty place where leaders sate
    Around the council-board;
In festive halls a chair of state
    When the blood-red wine was pour'd;
A name that drew a prouder tone
    From herald, harp, and bard;—
Surely these things were all thine own,
    So hadst thou thy reward.

Woman! whose sculptur'd form at rest
    By the armed knight is laid,
With meek hands folded o'er a breast
    In matron robes array'd;
What was thy tale?—Oh! gentle mate
    Of him, the bold and free,
Bound unto his victorious fate,
    What bard hath sung of thee?

He wooed a bright and burning star—
    Thine was the void, the gloom,
The straining eye that follow'd far
    His fast receding plume;
The heart-sick listening while his steed
    Sent echoes on the breeze;
The pang but when did Fame take heed
    Of griefs obscure as these?

Thy silent and secluded hours
    Thro' many a lonely day,
While bending o'er thy broider'd flowers,
    With spirit far away;
Thy weeping midnight prayers for him
    Who fought on Syrian plains,
Thy watchings till the torch grew dim—
    These fill no minstrel strains.

A still, sad life was thine!—long years
    With tasks unguerdon'd fraught,
Deep, quiet love, submissive tears,
    Vigils of anxious thought;
Prayer at the cross in fervour pour'd,
    Alms to the pilgrim given—
Oh! happy, happier than thy lord,
    In that lone path to heaven!