“How cheer’ly sports the careless
The life that loves, around I see;
Fair youth to pleasant thoughts give birth—
The heart is only sad to me.
Not for mine eyes the young spring gloweth,
When earth her happy feast-day keeps;
The charm of life who ever knoweth
That looks into the deeps?
“Wrapt in thy bliss, my sister,
The heart’s inebriate rapture-springs;—
Longing with bridal arms to twine
The bravest of the Grecian kings.
High swells the joyous bosom, seeming
Too narrow for its world of love,
Nor envies, in its heaven of dreaming,
The heaven of gods above!
“I too might know the soft control
Of one the longing heart could choose,
With look which love illumes with soul—
The look that supplicates and woos.
And sweet with him, where love presiding
Prepares our hearth, to go—but, dim,
A Stygian shadow, nightly gliding,
Stalks between me and him!
“Forth from the grim funereal shore,
The Hell-Queen sends her ghastly bands;
Where’er I turn—behind—before—
Dumb in my path—a Spectre stands!
Wherever gayliest, youth assembles—
I see the shades in horror clad,
Amidst Hell’s ghastly People trembles
One soul for ever sad!
“I see the steel of Murder gleam—
I see the Murderer’s glowing eyes—
To right—to left, one gory stream—
One circling fate—my flight defies!
I may not turn my gaze—all seeing,
Foreknowing all, I dumbly stand—
To close in blood my ghastly being
In the far strangers’ land!”
Hark! while the sad sounds murmur round,
Hark, from the Temple-porch, the cries!—
A wild, confused, tumultuous sound!—
Dead the divine Pelides lies!
Grim Discord rears her snakes devouring—
The last departing god hath gone!
And, womb’d in cloud, the thunder, lowering,
Hangs black on Ilion.
[Illustration: CASSANDRA Ferdinand Keller]
* * * * *
[Hinrichs properly classes this striking ballad (together with the yet grander one of the “Fight with the Dragon”) amongst those designed to depict and exalt the virtue of Humility. The source of the story is in AEgidius Tschudi, a Swiss chronicler; and Schiller appears to have adhered, with much fidelity, to the original narrative.]
At Aachen, in imperial state,
In that time-hallow’d hall renown’d,
At solemn feast King Rudolf sate,
The day that saw the hero crown’d!
Bohemia and thy Palgrave, Rhine,
Give this the feast, and that the wine;
The Arch Electoral Seven,
Like choral stars around the sun,
Gird him whose hand a world has won,
The anointed choice of Heaven.