Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 9/Heinrich Frauenlob
At Worms, about our Lady’s shrine
A minstrel’s gently haunting shade is;
He sang of Love and War and Wine,
His name was Henry Praise-the-Ladies.
This Henry had a yearning heart,
And chivalric emotions warmed him,
But holy vows kept him apart
From all that fired, and all that charmed him.
And many a time his brow grew sad,
And many a time his eye grew moister,
When lute-like voices, young and glad,
Were wafted to his cage-like cloister.
And so, like captive bird, he sung
Of cups that kindlier tables graced,
Of swords at knightlier sides that hung,
Of lips ’twere deadly sin to taste.
The knights he sung were scarce of earth,
Not ruffians as we oft behold here,
All loyalty and truth and worth,
Each one an army in a soldier.
The wines he sung might glad the hoard
Of Duke, Archbishop, or Elector,
The produce of some fairy hoard,
Imprisoned sunbeams changed to nectar.
But sweet as ever woke his lays
To celebrate good wine or true man,
The rare quintessence of his praise
Was thine, inexplicable Woman.
He praised thee in thine April morn,
All tremulous with beauty’s budding,
When tender thoughts are newly born,
And bathe the cheek in roseate flooding.
He praised thee in thy May of youth,
The heroine of antique story;
Bound soul to soul in ardent truth,
And granting maiden love for glory.
He praised thee, peerless queen of home,
The hearth-imparadising mother;
Fount of the Strong and Fair to come,
Most blest in blessing most another.
By Henry wept no child or wife,
When bowed to death his silver head;
But angel wings, unknown in life,
Threw their bland shadows o’er his bed.
Touch closed his eyes more soft than ours,
Fair hands dropt wreaths the kind old man on,
And eight bright ladies, crowned with flowers,
Bore to his rest the genial Canon.
G. C. Swayne.