Thy rest was deep at the slumberer's hour
If thou didst not hear the blast
Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower,
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd,
And the roar of the stormy chase went by,
Through the dark unquiet sky!
The stag sprung up from his mossy bed
When he caught the piercing sounds,
And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head
As he flew from the viewless hounds;
And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height,
Away through the rushing night!
The banner shook on its ancient hold,
And the pine in its desert-place,
As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd
With the din of the trampling race;
And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout,
And the bugle, ringing out!
From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell,
At the castle's festive board,
And a sudden pause came o'er the swell
Of the harp's triumphal chord;
And the Minnesinger's thrilling lay
In the hall died fast away.
The convent's chanted rite was stay'd,
And the hermit dropp'd his beads,
And a trembling ran through the forest-shade,
At the neigh of the phantom steeds,
And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.
The storm hath swept with the chase away,
There is stillness in the sky,
But the mother looks on her son to-day,
With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
Midst the gleam of her golden hair!
The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long
Must hear a voice of war,
And a clash of spears our hills among,
And a trumpet from afar;
And the brave on a bloody turf must lie,
For the Huntsman hath gone by!