THERE stands on yonder high mountain
A castle built of yore,
Where once lurked horse and horseman
In rear of gate and of door.
Now door and gate are in ashes,
And all around is so still;
And over the fallen ruins
I clamber just as I will.
Below once lay a cellar,
With costly wines well stor’d;
No more the glad maid with her pitcher
Descends there to draw from the hoard.
No longer the goblet she places
Before the guests at the feast;
The flask at the meal so hallow’d
No longer she fills for the priest.
No more for the eager squire
The draught in the passage is pour’d;
No more for the flying present
Receives she the flying reward.
For all the roof and the rafters,
They all long since have been burn’d,
And stairs and passage and chapel
To rubbish and ruins are turn’d.
Yet when with lute and with flagon,
When day was smiling and bright,
I’ve watch’d my mistress climbing
To gain this perilous height,
Then rapture joyous and radiant
The silence so desolate brake,
And all, as in days long vanish’d,
Once more to enjoyment awoke;
As if for guests of high station
The largest rooms were prepared;
As if from those times so precious
A couple thither had fared;
As if there stood in his chapel
The priest in his sacred dress,
And ask’d: “Would ye twain be united?”
And we, with a smile, answer’d, “Yes!”
And songs that breath’d a deep feeling,
That touched the heart’s innermost chord,
The music-fraught mouth of sweet echo,
Instead of the many, outpour’d.
And when at eve all was hidden
In silence unbroken and deep,
The glowing sun then look’d upwards,
And gazed on the summit so steep.
And squire and maiden then glitter’d
As bright and gay as a lord,
She seized the time for her present,
And he to give her reward.