Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI. 1876–79.
Austria: Munkacs, Hungary
Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827)
Translated by C. T. Brooks
ALEXANDER YPSILANTI sate in Muncacs’ lofty tower,
And the rotten casement rattled in the wind that midnight hour;
Black-winged clouds, in long procession, hiding moon and stars, swept by,
And the Greek prince whispered sadly: “Must I here, a captive, lie?”
On the distant south horizon still he gazes, half unmanned:
“Were I sleeping in thy dust, now, my belovéd Fatherland!”
And he flung the window open, ’t was a dreary scene to view;
Crows were swarming in the lowlands, round the cliff the eagle flew.
And again he murmured, sighing: “Comes there none good news to tell
From the country of my fathers?” And his heavy lashes fell,—
Was ’t with tears, or was ’t with slumber? And his head sank on his hand;—
Lo! his face is growing brighter,—dreams he of his Fatherland?
So he sate, and to the sleeper came a slender arméd man,
Who, with glad and earnest visage, to the mourner thus began:
“Alexander Ypsilanti, cheer thy heart and lift thy head!
In the narrow rocky passage where my blood was freely shed,
Where the brave three hundred Spartans slumber in a common grave,
Greece to-day has met the oppressor, and her conquering banners wave.
This glad message to deliver was my spirit sent to thee:
Alexander Ypsilanti, Hellas’ holy land is free!”
Then awoke the prince from slumber, and in ecstasy he cries:
“’T is Leonidas!” and glistening tears of joy bedewed his eyes.
Hark! above his head a rustling; and a kingly eagle flies
From the window, and in moonlight spreads his pinions to the skies.