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Poems of Goethe

SIR CURT'S WEDDING-JOURNEY.

WITH a bridegroom's joyous bearing,

Mounts Sir Curt his noble beast,
To his mistress' home repairing,

There to hold his wedding feast;
When a threatening foe advances

From a desert, rocky spot;
For the fray they couch their lances,

Not delaying, speaking not.

Long the doubtful fight continues,

Victory then for Curt declares;
Conqueror, though with wearied sinews,

Forward on his road he fares.
When he sees, though strange it may be,

Something 'midst the foliage move;
'Tis a mother, with her baby,

Stealing softly through the grove!

And upon the spot she beckons--

"Wherefore, love, this speed so wild?
Of the wealth thy storehouse reckons,

Hast thou nought to give thy child!"
Flames of rapture now dart through him,

And he longs for nothing more,
While the mother seemeth to him

Lovely as the maid of yore.

But he hears his servants blowing,

And bethinks him of his bride;
And ere long, while onward going,

Chances past a fair to ride;
In the booths he forthwith buys him

For his mistress many a pledge;
But, alas! some Jews surprise him,

And long-standing debts allege.

And the courts of justice duly

Send the knight to prison straight.
Oh accursed story, truly!

For a hero, what a fate!
Can my patience such things weather?

Great is my perplexity.
Women, debts, and foes together,--

Ah, no knight escapes scot free!

                                1803.*