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GEORGE THE TRILLER.

1455.

I.
THY, lady dear, so sad of cheer ?

Hast waked the livelong night?” • My dreams foreshow my children's woe, Ernst bold and Albrecht bright.

WHY

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“ From the dark glades of forest shades

There rushed a raging boar,
Two sapling oaks with cruel strokes

His crooked tusks uptore.”
Ah, lady dear, dismiss thy fear

Of phantoms haunting sleep!”
“ The giant knight, Sir Konrad hight,

Hath vowed a vengeance deep.
My lord, o'erbold, hath kept his gold,

And scornful answer spake : • Kunz, wisdom learn, nor strive to burn

The fish within their lake.'

66

“See, o'er the plain, with all his train,

My lord to Leipzig riding;
Some danger near my children dear

My dream is sure betiding.”

“ The warder waits before the gates,

The castle rock is steep,
The massive walls protect the halls,

Thy children safely sleep.”

II.

'Tis night's full noon, fair shines the moon

On Altenburg's old halls,
The silver beams in tranquil streams

Rest on the ivied walls.

Within their tower the midnight hour

Has wrapt the babes in sleep, With unclosed eyes their mother lies

To listen and to weep.

What sudden sound is stirring round?

What clang thrills on her ear? Is it the breeze amid the trees

Re-echoing her fear?

Swift from her bed, in sudden dread,

She to her lattice flies :
Oh! sight of woe, from far below

Behold a ladder rise :

And from yon tower, her children's bower,

Lo! giant Kunz descending ! Ernst, in his clasp of iron grasp,

His cries with hers is blending. “Oh! hear my prayer, my children spare,

The sum shall be restored ;
Nay, twenty-fold returned the gold,

Thou know'st how true my lord.”

With mocking grace he bowed his face :

“Lady, my greetings take; Thy lord may learn how I can burn The fish within their lake."

Oh! double fright, a second knight

Upon the ladder frail,
And in his arm, with wild alarm,

A child uplifts his wail !

Would she had wings! She wildly springs

To rouse her slumbering train; Bolted without her door so stout

Resists her efforts vain !

No mortal ear her calls can hear,

The robbers laugh below;
Her God alone may hear her moan,

Or mark her hour of woe.

A cry below, “Oh! let me go,

I am no prince's brother;
Their playmate I – Oh! hear my cry,

Restore me to my mother !”

With anguish sore she shakes the door ;

Once more Sir Kunz is rearing His giant head. His errand sped

She sees him reappearing.

Her second child in terror wild

Is struggling in his hold; Entreaties vain she pours again,

Still laughs the robber bold. “I greet thee well, the Elector tell

How Kunz his counsel takes, And let him learn that I can burn

The fish within their lakes."

III.

“Swift, swift, good steed, death 's on thy speed,

Gain Isenburg ere morn ;
Though far the way, there lodged our prey,

We laugh the Prince to scorn.
“ There Konrad's den and merry men

Will safely hold the boys,
The Prince shall grieve long ere we leave

Our hold upon his joys.

“But hark! but hark! how through the dark

The castle bell is tolling, From tower and town, o'er wood and down,

The like alarm notes rolling.

“ The peal rings out ! echoes the shout!

All Saxony's astir ;
Groom, turn aside, swift must we ride

Through the lone wood of fir.”

Far on before, of men a score

Prince Ernest bore still sleeping; Thundering as fast, Kunz came the last,

Carrying young Albrecht weeping. The clanging bell with distant swell

Dies on the morning air, Bohemia's ground another bound

Will reach, and safety there.

The morn's fresh beam lights a cool stream,

Charger and knight are weary,
He draws his rein, the child's sad plain

He meets with accents cheery.

“ Sir Konrad good, be mild of mood,

A fearsome giant thou !
For love of heaven, one drop be given

To cool my throbbing brow!”
Kunz savage heart feels pity's smart,

He soothes the worn-out child,
Bathes his hot cheeks, and bending seeks

For woodland berries wild.

A deep-toned bark! A figure dark,

Smoke-grimed and sun-embrowned, Comes through the wood in wondering mood,

And by his side a hound.

“Oh, to my aid, I am betrayed,

The Elector's son forlorn,

From out my bed these men of dread

Have this night hither borne !”

“ Peace, if thou 'rt wise,” the false groom cries,

And aims a murderous blow;
His pole-axe long, his arm so strong,

Must lay young Albrecht low.
See, turned aside, the weapon glide

The woodman's pole along,
To Albrecht's clasp his friendly grasp

Pledges redress from wrong.

Loud the hound's note as at the throat

Of the false groom he flies;
Back at the sounds Sir Konrad bounds :

“Off hands, base churl,” he cries.

The robber lord with mighty sword,

Mailed limbs of giant strength,
The woodman stout, all arms without,

Save his pole's timber length,

Unequal fight! Yet for the right

The woodman holds the field;
Now left, now right, repels the knight,

His pole full stoutly wields.
“His whistle clear rings full of cheer,

And lo! his comrades true,
All swarth and lusty, with fire poles trusty,

Burst on Sir Konrad's view.

His horse's rein he grasps amain

Into his selle to spring,
His gold-spurred heel his stirrup's steel

Has caught, his weapons ring.

His frightened steed with wildest speed

Careers with many a bound;
Sir Konrad's heel fast holds the steel,
His head is on the ground.

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