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.
Geoffry Rudél and Melisanda of Tripoli
Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)
Translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring

IN the Château Blay still see we
  Tapestry the walls adorning,
Worked by Tripoli’s fair countess’
  Own fair hands, no labor scorning.
Her whole soul was woven in it,        5
  And with loving tears and tender
Hallowed is the silken picture,
  Which the following scene doth render:
How the Countess saw Rudél
  Dying on the strand of ocean,        10
And the ideal in his features
  Traced of all her heart’s emotion.
For the first and last time also
  Living saw Rudél and breathing
Her who in his every vision        15
  Intertwining was and wreathing.
Over him the Countess bends her,
  Lovingly his form she raises,
And his deadly-pale mouth kisses,
  That so sweetly sang her praises.        20
Ah! the kiss of welcome likewise
  Was the kiss of separation,
And they drained the cup of wildest
  Joy and deepest desolation.
In the Château Blay at night-time        25
  Comes a rushing, crackling, shaking;
On the tapestry the figures
  Suddenly to life are waking.
Troubadour and lady stretch their
  Drowsy, ghostlike members yonder,        30
And from out the wall advancing,
  Up and down the hall they wander.
Whispers fond and gentle toying,
  Sad-sweet secrets, heart-enthralling,
Posthumous, gallant, soft speeches,        35
  Minnesingers’ times recalling:
“Geoffry! at thy voice’s music
  Warmth is in my dead heart glowing,
And I feel once more a glimmer
  In the long-quenched embers growing!”        40
“Melisanda! I awaken
  Unto happiness and gladness,
When I see thine eyes; dead only
  Is my earthly pain and sadness.”
“Geoffry! once we loved each other        45
  In our dreams; now, cut asunder
By the hand of death, still love we,—
  Amor ’t is that wrought this wonder!”
“Melisanda! what are dreams?
  What is death? Mere words to scare one!        50
Truth in love alone e’er find we,
  And I love thee, ever fair one!”
“Geoffry! O, how sweet our meetings
  In this moonlit chamber nightly,
Now that in the day’s bright sunbeams        55
  I no more shall wander lightly.”
“Melisanda! Foolish dear one!
  Thou art light and sun, thou knowest!
Love and joys of May are budding,
  Spring is blooming, where thou goest!”        60
Thus those tender spectres wander
  Up and down, and sweet caresses
Interchange, whilst peeps the moonlight
  Through the window’s arched recesses.
But at length the rays of morning        65
  Scare away the fond illusion;
To the tapestry retreat they,
  On the wall, in shy confusion.

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