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.
 
Austria: Buda (Ofen), Hungary
The Last of the Arpads
Anonymous
 
IN Buda’s lofty castle towers in the chapel of Saint John,
Behind the mighty dead in pomp the funeral sweeps on;
The covering of velvet, the coffin all of gold,
Tell of the rank and royal state that coffin doth enfold.
 
The old and young, the rich and poor, are crowding one and all,        5
Grief sits on every face, from every eye the teardrops fall;
The tolling bells are mingling their melancholy boom:
Who is it to be buried? who closed within the tomb?
 
The last branch of an ancient root that from an ancient day
Had flourished in the Magyar land, and over it held sway:        10
The blood drops last and latest of the Arpad line so brave,
King Andrew’s corpse the mourning crowd are following to the grave.
*        *        *        *        *
But who is this that kneeleth, bending low beside the bier,
Muttering a prayer while kneeling there, and shedding many a tear,
In garb of woe, from top to toe, in a black veil bedight,        15
Looking like daybreak bursting on the middle hour of night.
 
It is the poor Elizabeth, orphaned by yonder bier,
So full of charms, so pleasant, like the spring-time of the year;
’T is she, the beautiful, alas! orphan of fatherland,
Her soul and body like a flower crushed by the frost’s cold hand.        20
 
High o’er her head the stormy clouds are gathering to break,
And above her and around her a thicker darkness make;
And faction’s twining serpent and intrigue’s spider net,
Leagued in a dark conspiracy, her every path beset.
 
Against this dastard host has risen a brave and gallant knight,        25
To shield the last of Arpad’s blood with the weapons of his might,—
Matthias Csak the pillar of this house august and old,—
Not two such sons the Magyar land within its bounds doth hold.
 
This veteran for the regal house thinks life a forfeit due,
For freedom and for fatherland he bursts his heart in two;        30
He struggles like a giant man, alas! in vain, in vain,
For on the throne of Arpad’s race no king shall sit again.
 
Andrew descends forevermore into the chilly tomb;
Not for the throne Elizabeth, for her the convent’s gloom;
And the brave knight who for her right so nobly stood alone        35
Is crushed beneath the ruins of the Arpad’s ancient throne.
 
 
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