Bohemian legends and other poems/The Spinning Girl

Eliška Krásnohorská2964471Bohemian legends and other poems — ⁠ The Spinning Girl1896Flora Pauline Wilson Kopta


What are you spinning, my sister, day by day,
That your tears fall on the soft flax in this way?”

My tears they fall with grief, o’er my love’s short dream!
What I spin? Why my wedding garment I ween.”

What spin you at night that no dreams make you doze,
When no wedding you’ll have, sister mine, these days?”

No bridal I’ll have, but my lover will wed,
To his wedding I’ll go in white dress, I have said.”

What spin you in haste, by the moon’s pale ray?
Does your lover haste to the altar, I say?”

I must hasten, my brother, the time is near—
In my shroud I am spinning the moonlight drear.”

The bells are tolling reproachfully and slow—
To her grave they bear the spinner, lying low.

Why are the bells pealing, so gladsome and clear,
For a wedding they ring, with their noisy cheer.

But at night when the lovers are kissing sweet,
At midnight the dead rise in their winding sheet.

My bride, oh, who is it, that comes to us see?”
’Tis the moon—there is no one but you and me.”

Who kisses my forehead? Whose tears on my cheek?”
The dew of evening, or perhaps the moon freak.”

No, ’tis my dead bride! See in the midnight cold,
Her dress in the moonlight shines fold upon fold.

She waves me a farewell, adieu seems to say,
Then beckons me onward to follow her way.

I follow! By power of witchcraft drawn on!”
My lover! What madness is this, strange and strong.”

He climbs through the window, and stands on the sill,
Keep hold! Now alone God can save if He will!”

The moonlight is drawing him—dizzy the height—
Life’s burden has passed from him into the night

Stop lover! One step and death stands in your way!”
Where he stood, falls undimmed the moonlight’s ray.

The moonlight shines clear on the river’s white bed,
Where he and the spinner united lie dead.