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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Barbarossa
By Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866)
 
Translation of Henry William Dulcken

THE ANCIENT Barbarossa
  By magic spell is bound,—
Old Frederic the kaiser,
  In castle underground.
 
The kaiser hath not perished,—        5
  He sleeps an iron sleep;
For in the castle hidden,
  He’s sunk in slumber deep.
 
With him the chiefest treasures
  Of empire hath he ta’en,        10
Wherewith in fitting season
  He shall appear again.
 
The kaiser he is sitting
  Upon an ivory throne;
Of marble is the table        15
  His head he resteth on.
 
His beard it is not flaxen:
  Like living fire it shines,
And groweth through the table
  Whereon his chin reclines.        20
 
As in a dream he noddeth;
  Then wakes he, heavy-eyed,
And calls, with lifted finger,
  A stripling to his side:—
 
“Dwarf, get thee to the gateway,        25
  And tidings bring, if still
Their course the ancient ravens
  Are wheeling round the hill.
 
“For if the ancient ravens
  Are flying still around,        30
A hundred years to slumber
  By magic spell I’m bound.”
 
 
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