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.
A Rhine Legend
Emanuel Geibel (1815–1884)
Translated by W. W. Caldwell

BY the Rhine, the emerald river,
  How softly glows the night!
The vine-clad hills are lying
  In the moonbeams’ golden light.
And on the hillside walketh        5
  A kingly shadow down,
With sword and purple mantle,
  And heavy golden crown.
’T is Charlemagne, the emperor,
  Who, with a powerful hand,        10
For many a hundred years
  Hath ruled in German land.
From out his grave in Aachen
  He hath arisen there,
To bless once more his vineyards,        15
  And breathe their fragrant air.
By Rudesheim, on the water,
  The moon doth brightly shine,
And buildeth a bridge of gold
  Across the emerald Rhine.        20
The emperor walketh over,
  And all along the tide
Bestows his benediction
  On the vineyards far and wide.
Then turns he back to Aachen        25
  In his grave-sleep to remain,
Till the New Year’s fragrant clusters
  Shall call him forth again.
Then let us fill our glasses,
  And drink, with the golden wine,        30
The German hero-spirit,
  And its hero-strength divine.

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