Bohemian legends and other poems/The Devil's Bride

THE DEVIL’S BRIDE.

 

A BOHEMIAN BALLAD.

 

There was a virtuous lady,
Who had daughters three to marry;
With two of them she went to church,
For the third she would not tarry.
The girl laughed loud, and dressed her hair,
For she had a mind to marry.

She thought in our little garden
There are plenty of roses fair;
I will make them into a wreath;
A beautiful wreath, I will wear.
Said a tall young man, passing by,
Maid, give me the wreath from your hair.”

The wreath’s not for you, tall young man,
I wait for a nobler than you.”
And she wandered amidst the flowers,
The roses of many hue.
Said a bold young man, passing by,
Maid, give me the wreath from your hair.”

The wreath’s not for you, bold young man,
I wait for a nobler than you.”
And she smiled a wicked wee smile,
A smile that to her was not new.
Said a dark young man, riding by,
Maid, give me the wreath from your hair.”

I’ll give you the wreath from my hair,
For a nobler I will not wait.”
Then the dark young man stopped his steed,
And the vain girl mounted elate,
While he whisp ered low in her ears,
I’ll take thee to paradise straight.”

And away they rode through the town,
Till they came to an awful way;
There were stunted and blasted trees;
There were snakes there ready to slay,
And there many a poison herb
Grew, that hid from the light of day.

And far away in the distance
The vain girl saw the flames of hell,
That leaped with their tongues of fire
’Gainst the sky they hated so well.
And their steed rushed on like the wind,
And soon they were standing in hell.

Open, my comrades, my black ones,
I have brought you a vain young girl.”
The door flew open, and devils,
Yea, hundreds flew out with a whirl.
And they danced and capered with glee,
And they laughed at the vain young girl.

Where are your manners, you devils?
Bring the lady a glass of wine.”
Then one of the devils ran quick,
And soon brought her a goblet fine.
Drink, thou vainest of maidens, drink,
The health of our prince in this wine.”

She drank of that wine and turned pale;
She drank, and flames rushed from her lips.
Oh, prince of this country,” she said,
Oh, moisten with water my lips.”
The devils laughed loud at her call,
They said, “Take long draughts, make no sips.”

Let me breathe air but a moment—
A moment in pity, I pray.”
But the devils, laughing, replied,
That is easy enough to say;
Had you but lived a better life,
You would not have been here to-day.”

The girl wept aloud in despair:
My soul I have lost now for aye,
Oh, would I could tell my mother,
To teach my poor sisters to pray;
Oh, would I could go to the earth,
I would turn them from sin away.”

Cease from thy fretting and worrying,
There are plenty to teach the way.
If the sisters choose to listen
They can also learn how to pray.
You chose to do ill in your life,
And your soul is lost now for aye.”