Many ages ago, near the high Hartz, there dwelt
A rude race of blood-loving giants, who felt
No joy but the fierce one which Carnage bestows,
When her foul lips are clogged with the blood of her foes.
And fiercer and bolder than all of the rest
Was Bohdo, their chieftain; - 'twas strange that a breast,
Which nothing like kindness or pity might move,
Should glow with the warmth and the rapture of love.
Yet he loved, and the pale mountain-monarch's fair child
Was the maid of his heart; but tho' burning and wild
Was the love that he bore her, it won no return,
And the flame that consumed him was answered with scorn.
Now the lady is gone with her steed to the plain, -
Save the falcon and hound there is none in her train;
She needs none to guide, or to guard her from harm
There's no fear in her heart, there is strength in her arm.
From her white wrist unhooded her falcon she threw,
Her bow like Diana, the huntress, she drew;
And fleet as the fetterless bird swept the sky,
So on her proud steed swept the fair lady by.
See how her eye sparkles, and how her cheek glows,
As onward so fearless and proudly she goes,
With her locks streaming back like a banner of gold,
Were she not, say, a bride meet for Nimrod of old?
And he saw her - the chief, from his tower afar -
As she glanced o'er the earth like some wandering star;
And he swore she should come in that tower to dwell,
Or his soul be a prize to the spirits of hell.
His war-horse he mounted, and, swift as the shoot
Of the night-gathered meteor, he sped in pursuit, -
Breathing out, as he went, mad with love and with hate,
Bitter curse upon curse against heaven and fate.
Urging on his fleet courser with spur and with rein,
He swept o'er the earth as the storm sweeps the plain, -
And the fair lady knew, by the gleam of his shield,
It was Bohdo, the scourge of the red battle field!
Then spurred she her steed over valley and hill,
Over rock, marsh and moor, over river and rill,
Yet still her eye sparkled, and still her cheek glowed,
As onward so fleetly and bravely she rode.
Thus over Thuringia sped she away,
With the speed of the hawk when he darts on his prey, -
Or an arrow let loose from a warrior's bow,
When it speeds with sure aim to the heart of his foe.
Then the Hartz, the wild Hartz - the terrific - the proud!
Where the mist-spirit dwells in his palace of cloud!
Where the evil ones gather in envious wrath,
To blight and to blast, - towered up in her path.
Still her cheek kept its glow, still her eye flashed in pride,
As onward she flew up the steep mountain side;
And fierce as the tempest, and fleet as the wind,
Stern Bohdo, the ruthless, still followed behind.
To a fearful abyss, whose unhallowed name
By the powers of darkness was given, she came,
And the whirlpool's wild voice, from the dark gulf below,
Came up like the wail of a soul in its we.
Beyond rose the rocky shelf, barren and bare,
Beneath lay the whirlpool, around her despair,
Behind her came one, sweeping on in the chase,
Whose grasp was more dreaded than death's cold embrace.
Then she called on the spirits who watch round the brave,
In peril to nerve, to assist and to save,
Closed calmly her eyes, as one sinking in sleep,
And urged her proud steed to the terrible leap!
A moment it paused on the high precipice,
Then sprang, boldly sprang, o'er the frightful abyss!
And struck its firm hoof in the rock till the sound
Shook the hills, and the sparks flew like lightning around!
And the foot-print it left has remained to this day,
And no rain-flood or tempest shall wear it away;
She was saved - the brave Emma was saved - but her crown,
From her fair brow unloosed, in the whirlpool sank down.
On, on came the chief, in his fierceness and wrath,
Nor saw he the wide gulf that yawned in his path, -
And soon, in the depths of its fathomless tide,
The warrior and war-steed were laid side by side.
And the mountaineer tells how in sullen despair,
His ghost, imannealed of its sins, lingers there;
Ever watching, pale, silent, untiring, unmoved,
The bright golden crown of the maiden he loved.
A diver once, lured by the wealth of the prize,
Sought out the deep cave where it lay, and still lies,
And where, chained by a spirit-breathed spell, it shall stay,
Till the whirlpool and mountain alike pass away.
Twice he rose with the crown, till its gleaming points blazed
On the eyes of the wondering thousands who gazed,
Twice it fell from his grasp, and sank quickly again
To the bed where for years undisturbed it had lain.
He followed, - this effort the treasure may earn -
But vainly they watch who await his return;
A red hue of blood tinged the deep waters o'er,
But the diver came up from their dark depths no more.