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: Hungary
Water of Hungary
Charles Godfrey Leland (1824–1903)
 
Eau de Cologne

THE BEAUTIFUL Queen of Hungary,
A sad and weary woman was she,
Since for many weeks a terrible pain
Seemed burning and darting through her brain.
Long were the nights, for little she slept;        5
Longer the days, for all day she wept;
Wretched as woman with pain could be
Was the beautiful Queen of Hungary.
 
Nothing at all could the doctors do,
Though they searched their folios through and through;        10
And the wonder was, as the weeks went by,
That of such torment she did not die.
But her Majesty had a will of her own,
And a brave little heart as ever was known,
And very determined to live was she,        15
The beautiful Queen of Hungary.
 
Finding all pharmacy false and fair,
Her Majesty took to penance and prayer.
“Blessed Otilia, aid me!” she cried;
“Sweet Juliana, be thou my guide!”        20
For these are the saints who the Church has said
Should be called upon for a pain in the head,
So she went to them for a remedy,—
The beautiful Queen of Hungary.
 
Long she prayed, till at length it seemed        25
That though still waking and praying she dreamed.
All around shone a living light
Of angels in angels gleaming bright,
A glory of faces in all the air,
Each blended of faces still more fair,        30
And rapt in this radiant mystery
Was the beautiful Queen of Hungary.
 
But where the splendor brightest shone
Two fairer figures stood gazing down
On the suffering Queen with a loving air,        35
The two she had called on in her prayer;
O, the fondest lover has never known
Such beauty in her he would call his own,
And on earth such light you could never see
As shone on the Queen of Hungary.        40
 
Saint Juliana the silence broke,
And thus to the kneeling lady spoke:
“Long hast thou suffered,—’t is time to know
The pleasure which comes when torments go.
Mary the Mother is Rose of Heaven,—        45
By the Rosa Mystica life is given;
Take, in her name, of rosemary,
O penitent Queen of Hungary!
 
“Then of Melissa, the honeyed balm,
Which soothed of old the martyr’s qualm,        50
Spirit of rose from the garden bower,
Of fresh sweet mint and the orange-flower,
Blended together these scents give forth
The freshest fragrance known on earth;
And since it was first revealed to thee,        55
They shall call it the water of Hungary.”
 
The heavenly recipé was tried
With great success, and far and wide
Men boasted much of its power to cure,
And said that in headaches ’t was ever sure.        60
With time some changes o’er it came,
Till at last they changed its very name,
Yet ’t is true enough, and to many known,
That this was the first of Eau de Cologne,
So whenever you use it grateful be        65
To the sainted Queen Elsa of Hungary.
 
 
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