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There are marks of age,
There are thumb-marks on thy margin,
Made by hands that clasped thee rudely,
At the alehouse.

Soiled and dull thou art ;
Yellow are thy time-worn pages,
As the russet, rain-molested
Leaves of autumn.

Thou art stained with wine
Scattered from hilarious goblets,
As these leaves with the libations
Of Olympus.

Yet dost thou recall
Days departed, half-forgotten,
When in dreamy youth I wandered
By the Baltic,--

When I paused to hear

The old ballad of King Christian Shouted from suburban taverns In the twilight.

Thou recallest bards,
Who, in solitary chambers,
And with hearts by passion wasted,
Wrote thy pages.

Thou recallest homes
Where thy songs of love and friendship
Made the gloomy Northern winter
Bright as summer.

Once some ancient Scald,
In his bleak, ancestral Iceland,
Chanted staves of these old ballads
To the Vikings.

TO AN OLD DANISH SONG BOOK,

Once in Elsinore,
At the court of old King Hamlet,
Yorick and his boon companions
Sang these ditties.

Once Prince Frederick's Guard
Sang them in their smoky barracks;
Suddenly the English cannon
Joined the chorus !

Peasants in the field,
Sailors on the roaring ocean,
Students, tradesmen, pale mechanics,
All have sung them.

Thou hast been their friend ;
They, alas ! have left thee friendless !
Yet at least by one warm fireside
Art thou welcome.

And, as swallows build
In these wide, old-fashioned chimneys,
So thy twittering songs shall nestle
In my bosom,-

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WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID.'

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,

WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID.

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 bell 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.

(1) Walter von der Vogelweid, or Bird-Meadow, was one of the principal Minnesingers of the thirteenth century. He triumphed over Heinrich von Ofterdingen in that poetic contest at Wartburg Castle, known in literary history as the War of Wartburg.

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COME, uld friend ! sit down and listen !

From the pitcher, placed between us,

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