"What hear I at the gateway ringing?
What bard upon the drawbridge singing?
Go bid him to repeat his song
Here, in the hall amid the throng,"
The monarch cried;
The little page hied;
As back he sped,
The monarch said
"Bring in the gray-haired minstrel."
"I greet you, noble lords and peers;
I greet you, lovely dames.
O heaven begemmed with golden spheres!
Who knows your noble names?
In hall of splendor so sublime,
Close ye, mine eyes 'tis not the time
To gaze in idle wonder."
The gray-haired minstrel closed his eyes;
He struck his wildest air;
Brave faces glowed like sunset skies;
Cast down their eyes the fair.
The king well pleased with the minstrel's song,
Sent the little page through the wondering throng
A chain of gold to bear him.
"O give not me the chain of gold;
Award it to thy braves,
Before whose faces fierce and bold
Quail foes when battle raves;
Or give it thy chancellor of state,
And let him wear its golden weight
With his official burdens.
"I sing, I sing as the wild birds sing
That in the forest dwell;
The songs that from my bosom spring
Alone reward me well:
But may I ask that page of thine
To bring me one good cup of wine
In golden goblet sparkling?"
He took the cup; he drank it all:
"O soothing nectar thine!
Thrice bless'd the highly favored hall
Where flows such glorious wine:
If thou farest well, then think of me,
And thank thy God, as I thank thee
For this inspiring goblet."