Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
 
Switzerland: Toggenburg
Knight Toggenburg
Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805)
 
Anonymous translation

“KNIGHT, to love thee like a sister
    Vows this heart to thee;
Ask no other warmer feeling,—
    That were pain to me.
Tranquil would I see thee coming,        5
    Tranquil see thee go;
What that starting tear would tell me
    I must never know.”
 
He with silent anguish listens,
    Though his heart-strings bleed;        10
Clasps her in his last embraces,
    Springs upon his steed,
Summons every faithful vassal
    From his Alpine home,
Binds the cross upon his bosom,        15
    Seeks the Holy Tomb.
 
There full many a deed of glory
    Wrought the hero’s arm;
Foremost still his plumage floated
    Where the foemen swarm;        20
Till the Moslem, terror-stricken,
    Quailed before his name.
But the pang that wrings his bosom
    Lives at heart the same.
 
One long year he bears his sorrow,        25
    But no more can bear;
Rest he seeks, but, finding never,
    Leaves the army there;
Sees a ship by Joppa’s haven,
    Which with swelling sail        30
Wafts him where his lady’s breathing
    Mingles with the gale.
 
At her father’s castle portal,
    Hark! his knock is heard;
See! the gloomy gate uncloses        35
    With the thunder-word:
“She thou seek’st is veiled forever,
    Is the bride of Heaven;
Yester eve the vows were plighted,—
    She to God is given.”        40
 
Then his old ancestral castle
    He forever flees;
Battle-steed and trusty weapon
    Nevermore he sees.
From the Toggenburg descending,        45
    Forth unknown he glides;
For the frame once sheathed in iron
    Now the sackcloth hides.
 
There beside that hallowed region
    He hath built his bower,        50
Where from out the dusky lindens
    Looked the convent tower;
Waiting from the morning’s glimmer
    Till the day was done,
Tranquil hope in every feature,        55
    Sat he there alone.
 
Gazing upward to the convent,
    Hour on hour he passed,
Watching still his lady’s lattice,
    Till it oped at last,—        60
Till that form looked forth so lovely,
    Till the sweet face smiled
Down into the lonesome valley,
    Peaceful, angel-mild.
 
Then he laid him down to slumber,        65
    Cheered by peaceful dreams,
Calmly waiting till the morning
    Showed again its beams.
Thus for days he watched and waited,
    Thus for years he lay,        70
Happy if he saw the lattice
    Open day by day;—
 
If that form looked forth so lovely,
    If the sweet face smiled
Down into the lonesome valley,        75
    Peaceful, angel-mild.
There a corse they found him sitting
    Once when day returned,
Still his pale and placid features
    To the lattice turned.        80
 
 
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