"Heidelberg" [poem]
Now from the smiling afternoon
The rain had past away;
And glimmered forth the pallid moon,
Amid the heavens grey.
Brake, and bush, and mead, and flower
System generated line number

Were glistening with the sunny shower;
Where, from the tangled, viny wreath,
The clustered grape looked out beneath,—
Climbing up the southern side
Of the round hillsʼ bosom wide,—
System generated line number

Branches of the chain that bound
All the south horizon round.
Far towards the western day
Mannheimʼs towers softened lay.— 1
But a moment:—darkly down a
System generated line number

Came the thunder, heavenʼs frown!
ʼMong the trees, a fitful shaking
Told the hoarse night wind was waking.
Grey upon his mountain throne,
Heidelberg his ruins lone
System generated line number

Reared colossally;
All begirt with mighty trees,
Whistling with the evenʼs breeze.
Flapping faintly by.. 2
It was morning:—from the height
System generated line number

Cumbered with its ruins hoar,
All that lovely valley bright
We were looking oʼer,
With its silver river bending,—
Vineyards to its banks descending. 3
System generated line number

Many a distant mountain chain
Girded round the mighty plain.
Here the sky was clear and bright;
But upon their distant height,
Like a monster oʼer his prey,
System generated line number

Rain and tempest scowling lay;
Like a mighty ocean wave,
All along thʼ horizon sweeping.
Flinging far its cloudy spray,
Oʼer the peaceful heaven beating.
System generated line number

Then around, the reddening sun
Gathered, throwing darkness dun
On the ruinʼs ghostly wall,—
Then between the pine‐trees tall,
Came quick the sound of raindrop fall.
System generated line number

Fast increased, the leafy rattle
Spoke the coming tempest‐battle. b
Enter then the chambers cold—
Cold and lifeless, bald and bare;
Though with banners decked of old,
System generated line number

Ivy tendrilsʼ flickering flare
Are the only banners there.
You would start to hear your tread
Given back by echoes dead!
You would look around to see
System generated line number

If a sprite were watching thee!
Yet a vision would come oʼer thee
Of the scenes had past before thee;—
Of the time when many a guest
Blessed the baron for his feast;
System generated line number

When the peasant, homeward stealing,—
Dusky night the hills concealing—
Heard the swell of wassail wild,
Cadence from the castle coming,
Mingling with the night‐breeze humming;
System generated line number

And, until the morning mild
Lightened upon wall and tower,
Beacon‐light from hour to hour
Streaming from the windows tall
Of the baronʼs ancient hall:
System generated line number

Where the shout around was ringing,
And the troubadour was singing
Ancient air and ancient rhyme—
Legend of the ancient time:—
Of some knightʼs blood, nobly spilt
System generated line number

In the melée or the tilt;—
Of the deeds of some brave band,
Oath‐bound in the Holy Land,
Such as iron Richard led,
Steeled without and steeled within,—
System generated line number

True in hand and heart and head,
Worthy foes of Saladin. 4
Or, if pleased a darker theme;—
Of spectres huge, at twilight seen
Above some battle‐field,
System generated line number

Mimicking with motion dread
Past combat of those lying dead
Beneath their cloudy pinions spread—
Crested helm, and spear, and shield
In the red cloud blazon├Ęd.
System generated line number

Thus with feast and revelry
Oft the huge halls rang with glee;
All reckless of the withering woe
Reigned in their dungeons dank below,
Where, in the lone hoursʼ sullen flight,
System generated line number

The masked day mingled with the night;
Until the captiveʼs practised eye
Could pierce the thick obscurity—
Could see his fetters glance, or tell
The stones which walled his narrow cell:
System generated line number

Till, at the time the warder came,
His dusky lampʼs half smothered flame
Flashed on him like that sun whose ray,
And all the smile of lightsome day,
He has almost forgotten.
System generated line number