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WALTER VON DER VOGELWEIDE.

VOGELWEIDE, the Minnesinger,

When he left this world of ours, Laid his body in the cloister,

Under Würtzburg-Minster towers.

And he gave the monks his treasures,

Gave them all with this behest :
They should feed the birds at noontide

Daily, on his place of rest.
Saying—"From these wandering minstrels

I have learned the art of song; Let me now repay the lessons

They have taught so well and long."
Thus the bard of love departed-

And, fulfilling his desire,
On his tomb the birds were feasted

By the children of the choir.

Day by day, o'er tower and turret,

In foul weather and in fair, Day by day, in vaster numbers,

Flocked the poets of the air.

On the tree, whose heavy branches

Overshadowed all the place,– On the pavement,-on the tombstone,

On the poet's sculptured face,

On the cross-bars of each window,

On the lintel of each door, —
They renewed the War of Wartburg,

Which the bard had fought before.

There they sang their merry carols,

Sang their lauds on every side ; And the name their voices uttered,

Was the name of Vogelweid.

Till at length the portly abbot

Murmured, “ Why this waste of food ? Be it changed to loaves henceforward

For our fasting brotherhood.”

Then in vain o'er tower and turret,

From the walls and woodland nests, When the Minster bells rang noontide,

Gathered the unwelcome guests. Then in vain, with cries discordant,

Clamourous round the Gothic spire, Screamed the feathered Minnesingers

For the children of the choir ! Time has long effaced the inscriptions

On the cloister's funeral stones ; And tradition only tells us

Where repose the poet's bones. But around the vast cathedral,

By sweet echoes multiplied, Still the birds repeat the legend,

And the name of Vogelweid.

THE BRIDGE
I STOOD on the bridge at midnight,

As the clocks were striking the hour,
And the moon rose o'er the city,

Behind the dark church-tower. I saw her bright reflection

In the waters under me, Like a golden goblet falling

And sinking into the sea. And far in the hazy distance

Of that lovely night in June, The blaze of the flaming furnace

Gleamed redder than the moon. Among the long, black rafters,

The wavering shadows lay, And the currents that came from the ocean

Seemed to lift and bear them away;
As, sweeping and eddying through them,

Rose the belated tide,
And, streaming into the moonlight,

The seaweed floated wide.

And like those waters rushing

Among the wooden piers,
A flood of thoughts came o'er me

That filled my eyes with tears.

How often, oh, how often,

In the days that had gone by, I had stood on that bridge at midnight

And gazed on that wave and sky!

How often, oh, how often,

I had wished that the ebbing tide Would bear me away on its bosom

O'er the ocean wild and wide !

For my heart was hot and restless,

And my life was full of care, And the burden laid upon me

Seemed greater than I could bear.

But now it has fallen from me;

It is buried in the sea,
And only the sorrow of others

Throws its shadow over me.

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