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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749 (Frankfurt) – 1832 (Weimar)
THE tale of the Count our glad song shall record
Who had in this castle his dwelling,
Where now ye are feasting the new-married lord,
His grandson of whom we are telling.
The Count as Crusader had blazon'd his fame,
Through many a triumph exalted his name,
And when on his steed to his dwelling he came,
His castle still rear'd its proud head,
But servants and wealth had all fled.
'Tis true that thou, Count, hast return'd to thy home,
But matters are faring there ill.
The winds through the chambers at liberty roam,
And blow through the windows at will
What's best to be done in a cold autumn night?
Full many I've pass'd in more piteous plight;
The morn ever settles the matter aright.
Then quick, while the moon shines so clear,
To bed on the straw, without fear,
And whilst in a soft pleasing slumber he lay,
A motion he feels 'neath his bed.
The rat, an he likes it, may rattle away!
Ay, had he but crumbs there outspread!
But lo! there appears a diminutive wight,
A dwarf 'tis, yet graceful, and bearing a light,
With orator-gestures that notice invite,
At the feet of the Count on the floor
Who sleeps not, though weary full sore.
"We've long been accustom'd to hold here our feast,
Since thou from thy castle first went;
And as we believed thou wert far in the East,
To revel e'en now we were bent.
And if thou'lt allow it, and seek not to chide,
We dwarfs will all banquet with pleasure and pride,
To honour the wealthy, the beautiful bride
Says the Count with a smile, half-asleep;--
"Ye're welcome your quarters to keep!"
Three knights then advance, riding all in a group,
Who under the bed were conceal'd;
And then is a singing and noise-making troop
Of strange little figures reveal'd;
And waggon on waggon with all kinds of things--
The clatter they cause through the ear loudly rings--
The like ne'er was seen save in castles of kings;
At length, in a chariot of gold,
The bride and the guests too, behold!
Then all at full gallop make haste to advance,
Each chooses his place in the hall;
With whirling and waltzing, and light joyous dance,
They begin with their sweethearts the ball.
The fife and the fiddle all merrily sound,
Thy twine, and they glide, and with nimbleness bound,
Thy whisper, and chatter, and, chatter around;
The Count on the scene casts his eye,
And seems in a fever to lie.
They hustle, and bustle, and rattle away
On table, on bench, and on stool;
Then all who had joined in the festival gay
With their partners attempt to grow cool.
The hams and the sausages nimbly they bear,
And meat, fish, and poultry in plenty are there,
Surrounded with wine of the vintage most rare:
And when they have revell'd full long,
They vanish at last with a song.
And if we're to sing all that further occurr'd,
Pray cease ye to bluster and prate;
For what he so gladly in small saw and heard
He enjoy'd and he practis'd in great.
For trumpets, and singing, and shouts without end
On the bridal-train, chariots and horsemen attend,
They come and appear, and they bow and they bend,
In merry and countless array.
Thus was it, thus is it to-day.
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