Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
 
Arlinkow, Finland
Donica
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
HIGH on a rock, whose castled shade
  Darkened the lake below,
In ancient strength majestic stood
  The towers of Arlinkow.
 
The fisher in the lake below        5
  Durst never cast his net,
Nor ever swallow in its waves
  Her passing wing would wet.
 
The cattle from its ominous banks
  In wild alarm would run,        10
Though parched with thirst, and faint beneath
  The summer’s scorching sun.
 
For sometimes, when no passing breeze
  The long, lank sedges waved,
All white with foam, and heaving high,        15
  Its deafening billows raved:—
 
And, when the tempest from its base
  The rooted pine would shake,
The powerless storm unruffling swept
  Across the calm dead lake.        20
 
And ever, then, when death drew near
  The house of Arlinkow,
Its dark, unfathomed waters sent
  Strange music from below,
 
The Lord of Arlinkow was old;        25
  One only child had he:
Donica was the maiden’s name,
  As fair as fair might be.
 
A bloom as bright as opening morn
  Suffused her clear, white cheek;        30
The music of her voice was mild;
  Her full, dark eyes were meek.
 
Far was her beauty known; for none
  So fair could Finland boast:
Her parents loved the maiden much,—        35
  Young Eberhard loved her most.
 
Together did they hope to tread
  The pleasant path of life;
For now the day drew near to make
  Donica Eberhard’s wife.        40
 
The eve was fair, and mild the air;
  Along the lake they stray:
The eastern hill reflected bright
  The tints of fading day;
 
And brightly o’er the water streamed        45
  The liquid radiance wide:
Donica’s little dog ran on,
  And gambolled at her side.
 
Youth, health, and love bloomed on her cheek:
  Her full, dark eyes express,        50
In many a glance, to Eberhard
  Her soul’s meek tenderness.
 
Nor sound was heard, nor passing gale
  Sighed through the long, lank sedge;
The air was hushed; no little wave        55
  Dimpled the water’s edge;—
 
When suddenly the lake sent forth
  Its music from beneath,
And slowly o’er the waters sailed
  The solemn sounds of death.        60
 
As those deep sounds of death arose,
  Donica’s cheek grew pale,
And in the arms of Eberhard
  The lifeless maiden fell.
 
Loudly the youth in terror shrieked,        65
  And loud he called for aid,
And with a wild and eager look
  Gazed on the lifeless maid.
 
But soon again did better thoughts
  In Eberhard arise;        70
And he with trembling hope beheld
  The maiden raise her eyes.
 
And, on his arm reclined, she moved
  With feeble pace and slow,
And soon, with strength recovered, reached        75
  The towers of Arlinkow.
 
Yet never to Donica’s cheeks
  Returned their lively hue:
Her cheeks were deathy white and wan;
  Her lips, a livid blue.        80
 
Her eyes, so bright and black of yore,
  Were now more black and bright,
And beamed strange lustre in her face,
  So deadly wan and white.
 
The dog that gambolled by her side,        85
  And loved with her to stray,
Now at his altered mistress howled,
  And fled in fear away.
 
Yet did the faithful Eberhard
  Not love the maid the less:        90
He gazed with sorrow, but he gazed
  With deeper tenderness.
 
And, when he found her health unharmed,
  He would not brook delay,
But pressed the not unwilling maid        95
  To fix the bridal day.
 
And, when at length it came, with joy
  He hailed the bridal day.
And onward to the house of God
  They went their willing way.        100
 
But when they at the altar stood,
  And heard the sacred rite,
The hallowed tapers dimly streamed
  A pale, sulphureous light.
 
And when the youth, with holy warmth,        105
  Her hand in his did hold,
Sudden he felt Donica’s hand
  Grow deadly damp and cold.
 
But loudly then he shrieked; for, lo!
  A spirit met his view;        110
And Eberhard in the angel form
  His own Donica knew.
 
That instant from her earthly frame
  A demon howling fled,
And at the side of Eberhard        115
  The livid corpse fell dead.
 
 
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