Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
Austria: Danube, the River
Two Lovers
Eduard Mörike (1804–1875)
Translated by C. T. Brooks

A SKIFF swam down the Danube’s tide,
Therein a bridegroom sate, and bride,
    He one side, she the other.
“Tell me, my dearest heart,” said she,
“What present shall I make to thee?”        5
And back her little sleeve she stripped,
And deeply down her arm she dipped.
And so did he, the other side,
And laughed and jested with his bride.
“Fair Lady Danube, give me here        10
Some pretty gift to please my dear.”
She drew a sparkling sword aloft,
Just such the boy had longed for, oft.
The boy, what holds he in his hand?
OF milk-white pearls a costly band.        15
He binds it round her jet-black hair,
She looks a princess, sitting there.
“Fair lady Danube, give me here,
Some pretty gift to please my dear!”
Once more she ’ll try what she can feel;        20
She grasps a helmet of light steel.
On his part, terrified with joy,
Fished up a golden comb the boy.
A third time clutching in the tide,
Woe! she falls headlong o’er the side.        25
The boy leaps after, clasps her tight,
Dame Danube snatches both from sight.
Dame Danube grudged the gifts she gave,
They must atone for ’t in the wave.
An empty skiff glides down the stream,        30
The mountains hide the sunset gleam.
And when the moon in heaven did stand,
The lovers floated dead to land,
    He one side, she the other.

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