THE FAITHLESS BOY. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
THERE was a wooer blithe and gay,
A son of France was he,--
Who in his arms for many a day,
As though his bride were she,
A poor young maiden had caress'd,
And fondly kiss'd, and fondly press'd,
And then at length deserted.
When this was told the nut-brown maid,
Her senses straightway fled;
She laugh'd and wept, and vow'd and pray'd,
And presently was dead.
The hour her soul its farewell took,
The boy was sad, with terror shook,
Then sprang upon his charger.
He drove his spurs into his side,
And scour'd the country round;
But wheresoever he might ride,
No rest for him was found.
For seven long days and nights he rode,
It storm'd, the waters overflow'd,
It bluster'd, lighten'd, thunder'd.
On rode he through the tempest's din,
Till he a building spied;
In search of shelter crept he in,
When he his steed had tied.
And as he groped his doubtful way,
The ground began to rock and sway,--
He fell a hundred fathoms.
When he recover'd from the blow,
He saw three lights pass by;
He sought in their pursuit to go,
The lights appear'd to fly.
They led his footsteps all astray,
Up, down, through many a narrow way
Through ruin'd desert cellars.
When lo! he stood within a hall,
With hollow eyes. and grinning all;
They bade him taste the fare.
A hundred guests sat there.
He saw his sweetheart 'midst the throng,
Wrapp'd up in grave-clothes white and long;
She turn'd, and----*
(* This ballad is introduced in Act II. of Claudine
of Villa Bella, where it is suddenly broken off, as it is here.)