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THE GOLDEN LEGEND.

PROLOGUE.

THE SPIRE OF STRASBURG CATHEDRAL.

Night and storm. Lucifer, with the Powers of the Air, trying to tear down the Cross.

LUCIFER.

Hasten! hasten!
0 ye spirits!

From its station drag the ponderous
Cross of iron, that to mock us
Is uplifted high in air!

VOICES.

0, we cannot!
For around it

All the Saints and Guardian Angels
Throng in legions to protect it;
They defeat us everywhere!

THE BELLS.

Laudo Deum verum!
Plebem voco!
Congrego clerum!
Longfellow. //. 1

LUCIFER.

Lower! lower!
Hover downward!

Seize the loud, vociferous bells, and
Clashing, clanging, to the pavement
Hurl them from their windy tower!

VOICES.

All thy thunders

Here are harmless!

For these bells have been anointed,

And baptized with holy water!

They defy our utmost power.

THE BELLS.

Defunctos ploro!
Pestem fugo!
Festa decoro!

LUCIFER.;

Shake the casements!;
Break the painted

Panes, that flame with gold and crimson;
Scatter them like leaves of Autumn,
Swept away before the blast!

VOICES.

0, we cannot!
The Archangel

Michael flames from every window,
With the sword of fire that drove us
Headlong, out of heaven, aghast!

THE BELLS.

Funera plango!
Fulgura frango!
Sabbata pango!

LUCIFER.

Aim your lightnings
At the oaken,

Massive, iron-studded portals!
Sack the house of God, and scatter
Wide the ashes of the dead!

VOICES.

0, we cannot!
The Apostles

And the Martyrs, wrapped in mantles,
Stand as warders at the entrance,
Stand as sentinels o'erhead!

THE BELLS.

Excito lentos!

Dissipo ventos!

Paco cruentos! «

LUCIFER.

Baffled! baffled!
Inefficient,

Craven spirits! leave this labor
Unto Time, the great Destroyer!
Come away, ere night is gone!

VOICES.

Onward! onward!

With the night-wind,

Over field and farm and forest,

Lonely homestead, darksome hamlet,

Blighting all we breathe upon!

They sweep away. Organ and Gregorian Chant.

CHOIR.

Nocte surgentes
Vigilemus omnes!

I.

THE CASTLE OF VAUTSBERG ON THE RHINE.

A chamber in a tower. Prince Henry, sitting alone, ill and restless. Midnight.

PRINCE HENRY.

I Cannot sleep! my fervid brain

Calls up the vanished Past again,

And throws its misty splendors deep

Into the pallid realms of sleep!

A breath from that far-distant shore

Comes freshening ever more and more,

And wafts o'er intervening seas

Sweet odors from the Hesperides!

A wind, that through the corridor

Just stirs the curtain, and no more,

And, touching the seolian strings,

Faints with the burden that it brings!

Come back! ye friendships long departed!

That like o'erflowing streamlets started,

And now are dwindled, one by one,

To stony channels in the sun!

Comeback! ye friends, whose lives are ended,

Come back, with all that light attended,

Which seemed to darken and decay

When ye arose and went away!

They come, the shapes of joy and woe,
The airy crowds of long-ago,
The dreams and fancies known of yore,
That have been, and shall be no more.

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