What though fogs may stream from draining waters?
We will till the clays to mellow loam;
Wake the graveyard of our fathers’ spirits;
Clothe its crumbling mounds with blade and bloom.
Old decays but foster new creations;
Bones and ashes feed the golden corn;
Fresh elixirs wander every moment,
Down the veins through which the live past feeds its child, the
SCENE I. A.D. 1220
The Doorway of a closed Chapel in the Wartburg. Elizabeth sitting on the Steps.
Eliz. Baby Jesus, who dost lie
Far above that stormy sky,
In Thy mother’s pure caress,
Stoop and save the motherless.
Happy birds! whom Jesus leaves
Underneath His sheltering eaves;
There they go to play and sleep,
May not I go in to weep?
All without is mean and small,
All within is vast and tall;
All without is harsh and shrill,
All within is hushed and still.
Jesus, let me enter in,
Wrap me safe from noise and sin.
Let me list the angels’ songs,
See the picture of Thy wrongs;
Let me kiss Thy wounded feet,
Drink Thine incense, faint and sweet,
While the clear bells call Thee down
From Thine everlasting throne.
At thy door-step low I bend,
Who have neither kin nor friend;
Let me here a shelter find,
Shield the shorn lamb from the wind.
Jesu, Lord, my heart will break:
Save me for Thy great love’s sake!
Isen. Aha! I had missed my little bird
from the nest,
And judged that she was here. What’s this? fie, tears?
Eliz. Go! you despise me like the rest.
Isen. Despise you?
What’s here? King Andrew’s child? St. John’s sworn maid?
Who dares despise you? Out upon these Saxons!
They sang another note when I was younger,
When from the rich East came my queenly pearl,
Lapt on this fluttering heart, while mighty heroes
Rode by her side, and far behind us stretched
The barbs and sumpter mules, a royal train,
Laden with silks and furs, and priceless gems,
Wedges of gold, and furniture of silver,
Fit for my princess.
Eliz. Hush now, I’ve heard all, nurse,
A thousand times.
Isen. Oh, how their hungry mouths
Did water at the booty! Such a prize,
Since the three Kings came wandering into Coln,
They ne’er saw, nor their fathers;—well they knew it!
Oh, how they fawned on us! ‘Great Isentrudis!’
‘Sweet babe!’ The Landgravine did thank her saints
As if you, or your silks, had fallen from heaven;
And now she wears your furs, and calls us gipsies.
Come tell your nurse your griefs; we’ll weep together,
Strangers in this strange land.