“It is the evening sun which sports so in the elder-bush,” thought the student Anselmus; but the bells sounded again, and Anselmus observed that one Snake held out its little head to him. Through all his limbs there went a shock like electricity; he quivered in his inmost heart; he kept gazing up, and a pair of glorious dark-blue eyes were looking at him with unspeakable longing; and an unknown feeling of highest blessedness and deepest sorrow was like to rend his heart asunder. And as he looked, and still looked, full of warm desire, into these charming eyes, the crystal bells sounded louder in harmonious accord, and the glittering emeralds fell down and encircled him, flickering round him in thousand sparkles, and sporting in resplendent threads of gold. The Elder-bush moved and spoke: “Thou layest in my shadow; my perfume flowed round thee, but thou understoodst me not. The perfume is my speech, when Love kindles it.” The Evening-Wind came gliding past, and said: “I played round thy temples, but thou understoodst me not. Breath is my speech, when Love kindles it.” The sunbeams broke through the clouds, and the sheen of it burnt, as in words: “I overflowed thee with glowing gold, but thou understoodst me not. Glow is my speech, when Love kindles it.”
And, still deeper and deeper sunk in the view of these glorious eyes, his longing grew keener, his desire more warm. And all rose and moved around him, as if awakening to joyous life. Flowers and blossoms shed their odors round him; and their odor was like the lordly singing of a thousand softest voices; and what they sung was borne, like an echo, on the golden evening clouds, as they flitted away, into far-off lands. But as the last sunbeam abruptly sank behind the hills, and the twilight threw its veil over the scene, there came a hoarse deep voice, as from a great distance:
“Hey! hey! what chattering and jingling is that up there? Hey! hey! who catches me the ray behind the hills? Sunned enough, sung enough. Hey! hey! through bush and grass, through grass and stream! Hey! hey! Come dow-w-n, dow-w-w-n!”
So faded the voice away, as in murmurs of a distant thunder; but the crystal bells broke off in sharp discords. All became mute; and the student Anselmus observed how the three snakes, glittering and sparkling, glided through the grass toward the river; rustling and hustling, they rushed into the Elbe; and over the waves where they vanished, there crackled up a green flame, which, gleaming forward obliquely, vanished in the direction of the city.
How the student Anselmus was
looked upon as drunk and mad. The
crossing of the Elbe. Bandmaster Graun’s Bravura. Conradi’s
Stomachic Liqueur, and the bronzed Apple-Woman.