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66 What is it I
“ Am I here, or am I there? Is it a fête at Bingen?
Do I look on Frankfort fair ?
“ But where are the clowns and puppets,
And imps with horns and tail ? And where are the Rhenish flagons ?
And where is the foaming ale?
“ Strange things, I know, will happen,
Strange things the Lord permits ; But that droughty folk should be jolly
Puzzles my poor old wits.
“ Here are smiling manly faces,
And the maiden's step is gay ; Nor sad by thinking, nor mad by drinking,
Nor mopes, nor fools, are they.
“ Here's pleasure without regretting,
And good without abuse, The holiday and the bridal
Of beauty and of use.
“ Here's a priest and there is a quaker,
Do the cat and the dog agree? Have they burned the stocks for oven-wood ?
Have they cut down the gallows-tree?
66 Would the old folk know their children ?
Would they own the graceless town, With never a ranter to worry
And never a witch to drown ?"
Loud laughed the cobbler Keezar,
Laughed like a school-boy gay; Tossing his arms above him,
The lapstone rolled away.
It rolled down the rugged hillside,
It spun like a wheel bewitched, It plunged through the leaning willows,
And into the river pitched.
There, in the deep, dark water,
The magic stone lies still, Under the leaning willows
In the shadow of the hill.
But oft the idle fisher
Sits on the shadowy bank, And his dreams make marvellous pictures
Where the wizard's lapstone sank.
And still, in the summer twilights,
When the river seems to run
Out from the inner glory,
Warm with the melted sun,
The weary mill-girl lingers
Beside the charmed stream, And the sky and the golden water
Shape and color her dream.
Fair wave the sunset gardens,
The rosy signals fly; Her homestead beckons from the cloud,
And love goes sailing by!
S they who watch by sick-beds find relief
grief And anxious care in fantasies outwrought From the hearth's embers flickering low, or
caught From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet, Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why They scarcely know or ask, — so, thou and I, Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong In the endurance which outwearies Wrong,