Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Germany
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII.  1876–79.
The Deserted Mill
August Schnezler (1809–1853)
Translated by J. C. Mangan

IT stands in the lonely Winterthal,
        At the base of Ilsberg hill;
It stands as though it fain would fall,
        The dark Deserted Mill.
Its engines, coated with moss and mould,        5
        Bide silent all the day;
Its mildewed walls and windows old
        Are crumbling to decay.
So through the daylight’s lingering hours
        It mourns in weary rest;        10
But soon as the sunset’s gorgeous bowers
        Begin to fade in the west,
The long-dead millers leave their lairs,
        And open its creaking doors,
And their feet glide up and down its stairs,        15
        And over its dusty floors.
And the miller’s men, they too awake,
        And the night’s weird work begins;
The wheels turn round, the hoppers shake,
        The flour falls into the bins.        20
The mill-bell tolls agen and agen,
        And the cry is, “Grist here, ho!”
And the dead old millers and their men
        Move busily to and fro.
And ever as night wears more and more        25
        New groups throng into the mill,
And the clangor, deafening enough before,
        Grows louder and wilder still.
Huge sacks are barrowed from floor to floor;
        The wheels redouble their din;        30
The hoppers clatter, the engines roar,
        And the flour o’erflows the bin.
But with the morning’s pearly sheen
        This ghastly hubbub wanes,
And the moon-dim face of a woman is seen        35
        Through the meal-dulled window-panes.
She opens the sash, and her words resound
        In tones of unearthly power,—
“Come hither, good folks, the corn is ground;
        Come hither and take your flour!”        40
Thereon strange hazy lights appear
        A-flitting all through the pile,
And a deep, melodious, choral cheer
        Ascends through the roof the while.
But, a moment more, and you gaze and hark,        45
        And wonder and wait in vain;
For suddenly all again is dark,
        And all is hushed again.
It stands in the desolate Winterthal,
        At the base of Ilsberg hill;        50
It stands as though it would rather fall,
        The long-deserted Mill.
Its engines, coated with moss and mould,
        Bide silent all the day;
And its mildewed walls and windows old        55
        Are crumbling fast away.

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