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And many a rich and noble youth
Had strove to win the fair, But never a rich and noble youth
Could rival Rudiger.
At every tilt and tourney he
Still bore away the prize ; For knightly feats superior still,
And knightly courtesies.
His gallant feats, his looks, his love,
Soon won the willing fair ; And soon did Margaret become
The wife of Rudiger.
Like morning' dreams of happiness
Fast roll’d the months away ; For he was kind and she was kind,
And who so blest as they ?
Yet Rudiger would sometimes sit
Absorb’d in silent thought, And his dark downward eye would seem
With anxious meaning fraught:
But soon he raised his looks again,
And smiled his cares away, And mid the hall of gaiety Was none like him so gay.
And onward roll’d the waning months,
The hour appointed came, And Margaret her Rudiger
Hail'd with a father's name,
But silently did Rudiger
The little infant see; And darkly on the babe he gazed, -,
A gloomy man was he.
And when to bless the little babe
The holy Father came,
In Christ's redeeming name,
Then did the cheek of Rudiger
Assume a death-pale hue,
The cold convulsive dew;
And faltering in his speech he bade
The Priest the rites delay, Till he could, to right health restored,
Enjoy the festive day.
When o'er the many-tinted sky
He saw the day decline, He called upon his Margaret
To walk beside the Rhine ;
“ And we will take the little babe,
“ For soft the breeze that blows, “ And the mild murmurs of the stream
6 Will lull him to repose.”
And so together forth they went,
The evening breeze was mild, And Rudiger upon his arm
Pillow'd the little child.
And many a one from Waldhurst's walls
Along the banks did roam, But soon the evening wind came cold,
And all betook them home.
Yet Rudiger in silent mood
Along the banks would roam, Nor aught could Margaret prevail
To turn his footsteps home.
“ Oh turn thee, turn thee, Rudiger!
“ The rising mists behold, “ The evening wind is damp and chill,
“ The little babe is cold !"
“ Now hush thee, hush thee, Margaret,
“ The mists will do no harm, “ And from the wind the little babe
“ Lies shelter'd on my arm.”
« Oh turn thee, turn thee, Rudiger !
“ Why onward wilt thou roam ? “ The moon is up, the night is cold,
« And we are far from home.”
He answer'd not ; for now he saw
A swan come sailing strong, And by a silver chain he drew
A little boat along.