“Let that be as it may!” made answer the
youth, who had scarcely
Unto the words paid heed; but in silence had made his decision.
“I will go thither myself, will myself hear my destiny spoken
Out of the lips of a maiden in whom I a confidence cherish
Greater than heart of man has e’er before cherished in woman.
Say what she will, ’twill be good and wise; of that I am certain.
Should I behold her never again, yet this once will I see her;
Yet this once the clear gaze of those dark eyes will encounter.
If I must press her ne’er to my heart, yet that neck and that bosom
Will I behold once more, that my arm so longs to encircle;
Once more that mouth will see, whose kiss and whose ‘yes’ would for ever
Render me happy, from which a ‘no’ will for ever destroy me.
But ye must leave me alone. Do not wait for me here; but return ye
Back to my father and mother again, and give them the knowledge
That their son has not been deceived, that the maiden is worthy.
So then leave me alone! I shall follow the footpath that crosses
Over the hill by the pear-tree, and thence descends through our vineyard,
Taking a shorter way home. And oh, may I bring to our dwelling,
Joyful and quick my beloved! but perhaps I alone may come creeping
Over that path to the house, and ne’er again tread it with gladness.”
Thus he spoke, and gave up the reins to the hand of
Who understandingly grasped them, the foaming horses controlling,
Speedily mounted the carriage, and sat in the seat of the driver.
But thou didst hesitate, provident neighbor, and say
“Heart and soul and spirit, my friend, I willingly trust thee;
But as for life and limb, they are not in the safest of keeping,
When the temporal reins are usurped by the hand of the clergy.”
But thou didst laugh at his words, intelligent pastor,
and answer: “Sit thee down, and contentedly
trust me both body and spirit; For, in holding the
reins, my hand grew long ago skilful, Long has my
eye been trained in making the nicest of turnings;
For we were practised well in driving the carriage
in Strasburg, When I the youthful baron accompanied
thither; then daily Rolled the carriage, guided by
me, through the echoing gateway, Out over dusty roads
till we reached the meadows and lindens, Steering
through groups of the town’s-folk beguiling the
Thereupon, half-reassured, the neighbor ascended the
Sat like one who for a prudent leap is holding him ready,
And the stallions sped rapidly homeward, desiring their stable.
Clouds of dust whirled up from under their powerful hoof-beats.
Long the youth stood there yet, and saw the dust in its rising,
Saw the dust as it settled again: he stood there unheeding.