Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
The Baron de Jauioz
Translated by Louisa Stuart Costello

“I STOOD beside the running stream,
  And heard the mournful death-bird
‘Tina, know’st thou, ’t is no dream,
  Thou art bought and sold to-day?’
“Mother, mother, is it true,        5
  What the death-bird said he knew?
Am I, for the love of gold,
  To the aged Baron sold?”
“Ah! dear child, I cannot tell;
  Ask thy father for the truth.”        10
“Father, is it fixed to sell
  To old age thy daughter’s youth?”
“Daughter, urge me not, I pray;
  Ask thy brother,—he can say.”
“Lannik!—brother!—speak the word,        15
  Am I sold to Jauioz’s lord?”
“Sister, thou art sold. Be wise,
  For thy price was brought to-day;
Let no tears bedim thine eyes,
  Let thy gear be brave and gay.        20
Fifty crowns of silver white,
Fifty more of gold so bright,
Jauioz’s lord for thee has paid,
Be thy fortune marred or made!”
“Mother, shall thy child be drest        25
  In the white robe, or the red?
Which would suit a bride the best?
  Or will black be well instead,
That my sister Helen sewed?”
“Daughter, ask me not. The road        30
Will be rough, and dark the way;
  Dress thee quickly, for thy steed,
Yon black courser, trapped so gay,
  Waits to bear thee hence with speed.”
’T was not far she rode when loud
  On the air came sounds she knew;
’T was the bells that rang so proud,
  Then she wept: “St. Anne, adieu!
All my native bells, farewell!
Ye have tolled my funeral knell!”        40
By the Lake of Pain 1 she passed:
  There she saw a ghastly band;
White their garments, and the blast
  Drove their shadowy barks to land.
Crowds of spectres were the crew,        45
  Souls who seek in vain for rest;
Hard her struggling breath she drew,
  And her head sunk on her breast.
When the Vale of Blood she neared,
  All that ghastly band, with speed,        50
Following in pursuit appeared
  Close behind her coal-black steed!
Hideous forms and sights of fear
Press her nearer and more near.
All her senses chilled with woe,        55
  Full of horror and dismay,
Motionless and pale as snow,
  At the Baron’s gate she lay.
“Wake thee, Tina, ’t is thy lord;
  Seat thee by the blazing hearth;        60
See, they spread the festal board,
  Hark the minstrels and the mirth!”
By the fire the Baron stands,
  Black his raven locks as night,
Eyes that glow like flaming brands,        65
  Hair and beard all hoary white.
“Long I ’ve sought this blooming maid,
She is mine, at last!” he said.
“Come, fair girl, and view my store,
Count my riches o’er and o’er,        70
Come with me from room to room.”
“Baron Jauioz, take me home!
Rather, by my mother’s side,
  Counting billets for our fire,
Would I all my life abide;        75
  And no riches I desire.”
“See, my caves are filled with wine,
  Drink,—’t is sweet, a cure for care.”
“Brighter does the streamlet shine
  Where my father’s flocks repair!”        80
“Come and choose throughout the town
  Broidered robes all rich and grand.”
“Better is a woollen gown
  Made me by my mother’s hand.”
“Come, behold this cincture bright        85
  Dazzling all whene’er you move.”
“Better is the girdle white
  Which my sister Helen wove!”
“Girl! thy words are harsh and cold,
Hatred in each look is told!        90
Curses on my gold that bought thee!
Curses on my heart that sought thee!
Idiot that I was,—my gain
Is but tears, reproach, and pain.”
“Little birds that roam so free,
Hear my voice, and list to me.
You can to my village hie,
  I, alas! am captive here;
I am sunk in misery,
  You are full of joyous cheer.        100
To my village when ye rove
  All my friends your eyes may view.
To my mother bear my love,
  To my father bear it, too.
Bless my mother day by day,        105
  To our priest my greetings tell,
To my brother whispering say,
  I have pardoned him,—farewell!”
Months were gone: ’t was midnight deep,
All was hushed in silent sleep;        110
Not a footstep pressed the floor,
  Nothing stirred, above, around,
When a soft voice at the door
  Murmured words of mournful sound:
“Father, mother, wake and pray,        115
  And your mourning weeds prepare,
For my soul a requiem say,
  Comfort me with many a prayer,
Heave the sigh, and shed the tear,
For your child lies on her bier.”        120
Note 1. It was supposed that France was divided from Bretagne by a lake which was called Lac de l’Angoisse and by a valley called Vallée du Sang. [back]

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