Who can in words relate
Oswald’s unhappy fate,
Left to these monsters, whose hate was ablaze?
Both on revenge were bent;
He for a menace sent,
She for the merriment
Caused by his lays.
“Dungeon and torture-rack,
These shall now pay thee back!
Minstrel and poet rare,
Rave in thy mad despair,
And in that fetid lair
Finish thy days!”
Vainly he pleads with her;
No prayer succeeds with her;
Useless the joys of their past to rehearse;
For to increase his woe,
Frederick, his jealous foe,
Shares in this cruel show,—
Fit for God’s curse;
Shameless and treacherous,
Heartless and lecherous,
Sabine with fiendish glee,
Deaf to his every plea,
Watches his agony,
Quoting his verse!
Broken at last his chain!
Ended the poet’s pain!
Freed by a ransom (his relatives’ dole),
Humbled by grief and shame,
Injured in name and fame,
Drags he his crippled frame
Back through Tyrol.
Then, in a plaintive song
Chanting his grievous wrong,
Oswald von Wolkenstein,
Last of his gifted line,
Dies in Schloss Hauenstein;
God rest his soul!
AFTER THE VINTAGE
How can my vineyard’s charm be told,
As it basks in the autumn haze?
The Frost King’s touch, so light and cold,
Like that of the Persian king of old,
Hath turned its roof from green to gold,
Till the hillside seems ablaze.
Threading its maze of arbors fair
Under its saffron bowers,
I watch, in the crisp, November air,
Through vine-framed openings here and there
The ivied walls of castles rare
And ruined Roman towers.
Sapphire blue is the cloudless sky,
White are the mountain walls,
Rainbow-hued are the tints that lie
Lavishly spread on the forests high,
Where leaves by millions flame and die,
As the chill of Autumn falls.
Over the slopes in sun and shade
The terraced vines descend,
Like stately steps of a broad cascade,
Or an amphitheatre’s seats, arrayed
In folds of sumptuous, gold brocade,
Where red and amber blend.
I love to see, from the rising sun
Each terrace gain its crown,
When the splendid dawn hath just begun,
From the crest of the mountain it hath won,
To gild the vine-rows one by one,
As the mellow glow creeps down.
And when the day’s receding light
Deserts the vale below,
I trace its noiseless, upward flight
Through darkening zones of foliage bright,
Till all the world is lost in night
Save pyramids of snow.
THE PASSING MOON
In my loggia bright I watch to-night
The full moon sailing by;
From a crystal creek in a glaciered peak
It slipped to the open sky,
And now rides free in a clear, blue sea,
With not an island nigh.