J.L. Uhland: “Harald”

Excerpt, “Specimens of the Choicest Lyrical Productions of the Most Celebrated German Poets, from Klopstock to the Present Time.” Translated in English verse by Mary Anne Burt. London: 1855.





In somber wood, at eventide,

By Luna’s silver light,

Brave Harold, the Renowned, doth ride.

With many a valiant knight.


Who proudly, hard-earned pennons bring,

That through the forest wave;

The echoing war-songs that they sing

Sound through each mountain-cave.


What glides, by stealth, from yonder bush?

What flutters in yon tree?

What, from the clouds, doth hither rush

Amid the foaming sea?


Who mounts our steeds, and o’er us, fair

And Odorous garlands flings?

What Beings sing ‘neath moon-beams there,

And dance in dizzy rings?


Who amorously thus doth play,

And nestle on our breast?

Who gently takes our sword away,

And leaves us, void of rest?


The Elfin-race their charm have spread,

Their power can none withstand;

The celebrated Knights are led,

Captives in Fairy-land!


‘Gainst one – the Flower-of-chivalry,

Their fascinations fail;

Impregnably incased is he

In stalworth coat of mail.


His comrades are the Fairies’ prey,

Despoiled of sword and shield!

Their horses wildly dart away,

O’er mountain, wood, and field.


In melancholy, pensive mood,

Rides Harald, the proud Knight;

Brave Harald roves through yon wide wood,

‘Neath Luna’s mournful light.


From an o’erhanging rock doth flow

A crystal streamlet fair;

He takes his helmet from his brow,

And quaffs with ardour there.


Barely is feverish thirst suppressed,

When cramped feel arm and knee,

And, on the rock doth Harald rest,

O’erpowered by lethargy!


Hundreds of years doth Harald rest

On that cold marble-stone;

His head reclines upon his breast,

Grey, beard and hair are grown.


When, o’er that rock doth thunder roll,

When vivid lightning gleams,

He grasps his sword – still brave of soul,

‘Mid troubled fairy-dreams.