[From the German of Uhland]
At morn the Count of Greiers before his castle stands;
He sees afar the glory that lights the mountain lands;
The horned crags are shining, and in the shade between
A pleasant Alpine valley lies beautifully green.
“Oh, greenest of the valleys, how shall I come to thee!
Thy herdsmen and thy maidens, how happy must they be!
I have gazed upon thee coldly, all lovely as thou art,
But the wish to walk thy pastures now stirs my inmost heart.”
He hears a sound of timbrels, and suddenly appear
A troop of ruddy damsels and herdsmen drawing near;
They reach the castle greensward, and gayly dance across;
The white sleeves flit and glimmer, the wreaths and ribands toss.
The youngest of the maidens, slim as a spray of spring,
She takes the young count’s fingers, and draws him to the ring,
They fling upon his forehead a crown of mountain flowers,
“And ho, young Count of Greiers! this morning thou art ours!”
Then hand in hand departing, with dance and roundelay,
Through hamlet after hamlet, they lead the Count away.
They dance through wood and meadow, they dance across the linn,
Till the mighty Alpine summits have shut the music in.
The second morn is risen, and now the third is come;
Where stays the Count of Greiers? has he forgot his home?
Again the evening closes, in thick and sultry air;
There’s thunder on the mountains, the storm is gathering there.
The cloud has shed its waters, the brook comes swollen down;
You see it by the lightning–a river wide and brown.
Around a struggling swimmer the eddies dash and roar,
Till, seizing on a willow, he leaps upon the shore.
“Here am I cast by tempests far from your mountain dell.
Amid our evening dances the bursting deluge fell.
Ye all, in cots and caverns, have ‘scaped the water-spout,
While me alone the tempest o’erwhelmed and hurried out.
“Farewell, with thy glad dwellers, green vale among the rocks!
Farewell the swift sweet moments, in which I watched thy flocks!
Why rocked they not my cradle in that delicious spot,
That garden of the happy, where Heaven endures me not?
“Rose of the Alpine valley! I feel, in every vein,
Thy soft touch on my fingers; oh, press them not again!
Bewitch me not, ye garlands, to tread that upward track,
And thou, my cheerless mansion, receive thy master back.”