Arnim/Brentano: “The Mountaineer”

Excerpt, “THE BOY’S MAGIC HORN” BY Ludwig Achim Von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. 1806. Translated by Margarete Munsterberg.


The Boy’s Magic Horn


 Oh, would I were a falcon wild,
I should spread my wings and soar;
Then I should come a-swooping down
By a wealthy burgher's door.

In his house there dwells a maiden,
She is called fair Magdalene,
And a fairer brown-eyed damsel
All my days I have not seen.

On a Monday morning early,
Monday morning, they relate,
Magdalene was seen a-walking
Through the city's northern gate.

Then the maidens said: "Thy pardon--
Magdalene, where wouldst thou go?"
"Oh, into my father's garden,
Where I went the night, you know."

And when she to the garden came,
And straight into the garden ran,
There lay beneath the linden-tree
Asleep, a young and comely man.

"Wake up, young man, be stirring,
Oh rise, for time is dear,
I hear the keys a-rattling,
And mother will be here."

"Hearst thou her keys a-rattling,
And thy mother must be nigh,
Then o'er the heath this minute
Oh come with me, and fly!"

And as they wandered o'er the heath,
There for these twain was spread,
A shady linden-tree beneath,
A silken bridal-bed.

And three half hours together,
They lay upon the bed.
"Turn round, turn round, brown maiden;
Give me thy lips so red!"

"Thou sayst so much of turning round,
But naught of wedded troth,
I fear me I have slept away
My faith and honor both."

"And fearest thou, thou hast slept away
Thy faith and honor too,
I say I'll wed thee yet, my dear,
So thou shalt never rue."

Who was it sang this little lay,
And sang it o'er with cheer?
On St. Annenberg by the town,
It was the mountaineer.

He sang it there right gaily,
Drank mead and cool red wine,
Beside him sat and listened
Three dainty damsels fine.

As many as sand-grains in the sea,
As many as stars in heaven be,
As many as beasts that dwell in fields,
As many as pence which money yields,
As much as blood in veins will flow,
As much as heat in fire will glow,
As much as leaves in woods are seen
And little grasses in the green,
As many as thorns that prick on hedges,
As grains of wheat that harvest pledges,
As much as clover in meadows fair,
As dust a-flying in the air,
As many as fish in streams are found,
And shells upon the ocean's ground,
And drops that in the sea must go,
As many as flakes that shine in snow--
As much, as manifold as life abounds both far and nigh,
So much, so many times, for e'er, oh thank the Lord on high!