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Quiet, close, and warm,
Sheltered from all molestation,
And recalling by their voices
Youth and travel.


VOGELWEID the Minnesinger,

When he left this world of ours, Laid his body in the cloister,

Under Würtzburg's minster towers.

And he gave the monks his treasures,

Gave them all with this behest: They should feed the birds at noontide

Daily on his place of rest;

Saying, “ From these wandering minstrels

I have learned the art of song; Let me now repay the lessons

They have taught so well and long.”

Thus the bard of love departed;

And, fulfilling his desire,
On his tomb the birds were feasted

By the children of the choir.

Day by day, o'er tower and turret,

In foul weather and in fair, Day by day, in vaster numbers,

Flocked the poets of the air.

On the tree whose heavy branches

Overshadowed all the place,

On the pavement, on the tombstone,

On the poet's sculptured face,

On the cross-bars of each window,

On the lintel of each door,
They renewed the War of Wartburg,

Which the bard had fought before.

There they sang their merry carols,

Sang their lauds on every side ; And the name their voices uttered

Was the name of Vogelweid.

Till at length the portly abbot

Murmured, “ Why this waste of food ? Be it changed to loaves henceforward

For our fasting brotherhood.”

Then in vain o'er tower and turret,

From the walls and woodland nests, When the minster bells rang noontide,

Gathered the unwelcome guests.

Then in vain, with cries discordant,

Clamorous round the Gothic spire, Screamed the feathered Minnesingers

For the children of the choir.

Time has long effaced the inscriptions

On the cloister's funeral stones, And tradition only tells us

Where repose the poet's bones.

But around the vast cathedral,

By sweet echoes multiplied, Still the birds repeat the legend,

And the name of Vogelweid.



COME, old friend ! sit down and listen !

From the pitcher, placed between us, How the waters laugh and glisten

In the head of old Silenus !

Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,

Led by his inebriate Satyrs ; On his breast his head is sunken,

Vacantly he leers and chatters.

Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;

Ivy crowns that brow supernal As the forehead of Apollo,

And possessing youth eternal.

Round about him, fair Bacchantes,

Bearing cymbals, flutes, and thyrses, Wild from Naxian groves, or Zante's

Vineyards, sing delirious verses.

Thus he won, through all the nations,

Bloodless victories, and the farmer Bore, as trophies and oblations,

Vines for banners, ploughs for armor.

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Judged by no o'erzealous rigor,

Much this mystic throng expresses: Bacchus was the type of vigor,

And Silenus of excesses.

These are ancient ethnic revels,

Of a faith long since forsaken ; Now the Satyrs, changed to devils,

Frighten mortals wine-o'ertaken.

Now to rivulets from the mountains

Point the rods of fortune-tellers ; Youth perpetual dwells in fountains, —

Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.

Claudius, though he sang of flagons

And huge tankards filled with Rhenish, From that fiery blood of dragons

Never would his own replenish.

Even Redi, though he chaunted

Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys, Never drank the wine he vaunted

In his dithyrambic sallies.

Then with water fill the pitcher

Wreathed about with classic fables ; Ne'er Falernian threw a richer

Light upon Lucullus' tables.

Come, old friend, sit down and listen!

As it passes thus between us, How its wavelets laugh and glisten

In the head of old Silenus !




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The house commemorated in the poem is the Gold house, now known as the Plunkett mansion, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the homestead of Mrs. Longfellow's maternal grandfather, whither Mr. Longfellow went after his marriage in the summer of 1843. The poem was not written, however, till November, 1845, when, under date of the 12th of the month, he wrote in his diary:

Began a poem on a clock, with the words 'Forever, never,' as the burden; suggested by the words of Bridaine, the old French missionary, who said of eternity, C'est une pendule dont le balancier dit et redit sans cesse ces deux mots seulement dans le silence des tombeaux, - Toujours, jamais ! Jamais, toujours ! Et pendant ces effrayables révolutions, un réprouvé s’écrie, 'Quelle heure est-il ? ' et la voix d'un autre misérable lui répond, ' L'Éternité.?"



SOMEWHAT back from the village street
Stands the old-fashioned country-seat.
Across its antique portico
Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw;
And from its station in the hall
An ancient timepiece says to all, —
“Forever - never!

Never - forever !”

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Half-way up the stairs it stands,
And points and beckons with its hands
From its case of massive oak,
Like a monk, who, under his cloak,
Crosses himself, and sighs, alas !
With sorrowful voice to all who

66 Forever - never !
Never — forever!"

By day its voice is low and light;
But in the silent dead of night,

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