"Ehrenbreitstein" [poem]
Oh warmly down the sunbeams fell,
Along the broad and fierce Moselle,
And on the distant mountain ridge,
And on the city, and the bridge,
So beautiful that stood
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Tall tower, and spire, or gloomy port
Were made and shattered in the sport,
Of that impetuous flood,
That on the one side, washed the wall,
Of Gothic mansion fair and tall,
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And on the other side was seen,
Checked by broad meadows rich and green,
And scattering spray that sparkling flew,
And fed the grass with constant dew,
With broader stream, and mightier wrath
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The Rhine had chosen bolder path.
All yielding to his forceful will,
Through basalt gorge, and rock ribbed hill,
Still flashed his deep right on,
It checked not at the battled pride,
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Where Ehrenbreitstein walled his side,
Stretching across with giant stride,
The mighty waves the rock deride,
And on the crag like armies ride,
Flinging the white foam far and wide,
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Upon the rough grey stone,
Beneath the sweep of yon dark fell,
Join the two brothers, the Moselle,
Greeting the Rhine in friendly guise, 1
To join his headlong current flies, 2
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Together down the rivers go,
Resistless oer their rocky foe,
As lovers joining hand in hand,
Toward the west, beside their strand,
The rivers pass full playfully,
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Like allied armies mingled band,
Toward the east, white whirls of sand,
The river tosses by. 3
The morning came, and rosy light,
Blushed oer the bastions, and the height,
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Where traitor never stood, 4
And far beneath, in misty night,
The waters wheeled their sullen flight
Till oer them far for many a road,
The red sun scattered tinge of blood,
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Till broadening into brighter day,
On the rich plain the lustre lay,
And distant spire and village white,
Confessed the kiss of dawn,
Amid the forests shining bright,
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Still multiplying on the sight.
As sunnier grew the morn. a
We climbed the crag, we scaled the ridge,
On Coblentz looked adown
The tall red roofs, the long white bridge
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And on the eyelike frown,
Of the portals of her palaces,
And on her peoples busy press
There never was a fairer town
Between two rivers as it lay,
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Whence morning mist was curling grey
On the plains edge, beside the hill,
Oh, it was lying calm and still,
In mornings chastened glow
The multitudes were thronging by,
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But we were dizzily on high,
And we might not one murmur hear,
Nor whisper, tingling on the ear,
From the far depth below.
The bridge of boats, the bridge of boats
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Across the hot tide how it floats
In one dark bending line
For other bridge were swept away,
Such shackle loveth not the play
Of the impetuous Rhine.
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The feeble bridge that bends below,
The tread of one weak man,
It yet can stem the forceful flow
Which nought unyielding can.
The bar of shingle bends the sea.
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The granite cliffs are worn away
The bending reed can bear the blast
When English oak were downward cast.
The bridge of boats the Rhine can chain,
Where strength of stone were all in vain.
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Oh fast and faster on the stream,
An island driveth down,
The Schwartzwald pine hath shed its green,
But not at Autumns frown.
Twas sharper winter stript them there.
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The long straight trunks are bald and bare.
The peasant on some Alpine brow,
Hath cut the root and lopʼt the bough,
The eagle heard the echoing fall,
And soared away to his high eyrie,
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The chamois gave his warning call,
And higher on the mountain tall,
Pursued his way unweary.
They come, they come, the long pine floats
Unchain the bridge, throw loose the boats
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Lest by the raft so rudely driven,
The iron bolts be burst and riven. 5
They come, they come, careering fast
The bridge is gained, the bridge is past
Before the flashing foam they flee,
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Toward the ocean rapidly,
There firmly bound by builders care,
The rage of wave and wind to dare,
Or burst of battle‐shock to bear. b
Upon the boundless sea.
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