Part 2

The Moldau flings her silver spray
Round Rosenberg's green summer woods:
The mighty Danube rolls his floods,
By tower, and hamlet, far away.—
Sir Otho is the bravest knight,
That battles for Duke Conrad's right,
He hath a princely sway.

I ween it were a long day's ride,
But if you left the Moldau side,
When matin prayers were sung,
Ere you had reach'd the last church tower
That own'd Sir Otho's feudal power,
The vespers would have rung.
The foremost by the Kaiser's steed,
Sir Otho rides in battle fray;
And bards have sung his glorious deed,
Full many a night in festal lay.

And he has set above the shrine
With reverent hand God's holy sign,
But wore it not within;
For where the Cross of Christ doth reign,
There wilful sin may not remain;
The proudest man in all Almaine
Is he; and pride is sin.

Sir Otho had a gentle bride:
The fairest rose in all the land,
He pluck'd it with his mail'd right hand,
He twined it round his battle brand.
O shame upon the warrior's pride!
Shame on his heart! not even she
So lovely in her innocent joy,
Can make him bow to Heaven's decree,
Because he has no boy;

While he, his house's ancient foe,
The Lichtenberg's young lord, who gave
His plighted troth in the same hour,
And bore home to his bridal bower
The daughter of Rodolph the brave,
Has two fair sons to show.

And when in council-hall of late,
The chieftain by his rival sate,
Sir Eldred ask'd in jeering mood,
“How suits the dove the goshawk's nest?
Hot flow'd Sir Otho's fiery blood;
He cannot brook a jest.

Sweet Spring hath many a blossom bright,
That cold winds wither at their birth,
'Tis well that cold looks cannot blight
The living flowers of earth.

But silent now within the hall
Of Rosenberg, the festal call,
The banner droops upon the wall.
The very Moldau's voice is dull;
The gentle dame so beautiful,

Whose smile alone the poor man loved
Far better than another's gold,
And blest her softly as she moved,
With pious truth so meekly told,
And sweet bright looks for young and old;—

She in the cold church chancel lieth,
Without a smile, without a word.
Sir Knight, the fair and noble dieth,
Even like the common herd.

The pavement stone lie; on her breast,
But over it, a tomb is dress'd,
And the bright sunbeams as they fall
In colour'd lines along the wall,
See day by day, reflected there,
The image of that lady fair,
With carvèd lip, and sculptured hair,
And white hands ever join'd in prayer,
On her cold bosom press'd:
And angel form, with wings dispread,
And palm in hand, beside her head.

And since in life her hands were seen
Thus, ofttimes, when in prayer she bent,
Therefore, that marble monument
Still bears a semblance faint
Of what she is, and what has been,
Bright angel, praying saint.

The Baron's heart is sorely wrung,
He shuns the chase, he spurns the wine,
He kneeleth low at holy shrine,
O, God is good to old and young,
And they will seek His sympathy,
When hearts are torn, when eyes are dim
Who never in prosperity,
Or served, or cared for Him.

So he has doff'd the warrior plume,
And duly at the matin time
He kneeleth in his spirit's gloom,
And duly when the vespers chime,
Beside his lady's tomb.

When first the warrior thither came,
Sweet violets, and roses red,
By the white image of the dame,
Lay on her marble bed.
He took the garland from its rest,
He set it in his unmail'd breast,
It seem'd to soothe his grief;
And ever after, day by day,
Thereon a bunch of sweet flowers lay,
Fresh gather'd, for the chief.

He never thought what little hand
Had cull'd them, ere the dew was dry;
What tiny fingers tied the band;—
He never thought whose soft clear eye
Look'd glistening on his inward throe,
And in her simple heart had plann'd
This solace for his woe.

O, strange it is, how man will bear
His heart to God's Own House of prayer:
And when the solemn organ swelleth,
And when the Holy Writing telleth
Of His sweet mercy dear,
Who was so lowly, pure, and true,
Who died for us so tenderly,
And bade us like good deeds to do,
As loving, and as meek to be—
The words shall fill his ear;

And his voice mingling there will borrow
The strain of penitential sorrow;
Yet unrepented still within
Lurks deep his bosom's cherish'd sin,
And he will go to-day, to-morrow,
And be, as he has been.

Sir Otho is as cold and proud,
In his dark sorrow, now;
As in his hours most blest, and bright.—
The rugged mountain's flinty height
Is none the softer for the cloud
That rests upon its brow.
The child is in the turret tall,
The warder passes to and fro,
She hears the river's murmuring fall,
She sees the green trees wave below.

She kneeleth low on bended knee,
She lifteth up her blue eye clear,
“Good Christ, keep Thou my father dear,
Thus meekly doth the maiden pray,
“And help him in dark sorrow's day,
And make him to love me.”
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