THE CASTLE ON THE MOUNTAIN
by: Johann Wolfgang von
- HERE stands
an ancient castle
- On yonder mountain height,
- Where, fenced with door and portal,
- Once tarried steed and knight.
- But gone are door and portal,
- And all is hushed and still;
- O'er ruined wall and rafter
- I clamber as I will.
- A cellar with many a vintage
- Once lay in yonder nook;
- Where now are the cellarer's flagons
- And where is his jovial look?
- No more he sets the beakers
- For the guests at the wassail feast;
- Nor fills a flask from the oldest cask
- For the duties of the priest.
- No more he gives on the staircase
- The stoup to the thirsty squires,
- And a hurried thanks for the hurried gift
- Receives, nor more requires.
- For burned are roof and rafter,
- And they hang begrimed and black;
- And stair, and hall, and chapel,
- Are turned to dust and wrack.
- Yet, as with song and cittern,
- One day when the sun was bright,
- I saw my love ascending
- The slopes of yon rocky height;
- From the hush and the desolation
- Sweet fancies did unfold,
- And it seemed as they had come back again,
- The jovial days of old.
- As if the stateliest chambers
- For noble guests were spread,
- And out from the prime of that glorious time
- A youth a maiden led.
- And, standing in the chapel,
- The good old priest did say,
- "Will ye wed with one another?"
- And we smiled and answered "Yea!"
- We sung, and our hearts they bounded
- To the thrilling lays we sung,
- And every note was doubled
- By the echo's catching tongue.
- And when, as eve descended,
- The hush grew deep and still,
- And the setting sun looked upward
- On that great castled hill;
- Then far and wide, like lord and bride,
- In the radiant light we shone --
- It sank; and again the ruins
- Stood desolate and alone.
MORE POEMS BY GOETHE
John Storer Cobb's English translation
of 'The Castle on the Mountain' was first published in Goethe:
Poetical Works, vol. 1. Boston: Francis A Niccolls &