The guests have met in the castle hall.
Who rides through the castle gate,
With banner and plume? The young bridegroom
And a hundred knights in state.
The guests have met in procession fair,
Around the bride they stand;
The myrtle wreath on her golden hair,
The bride ring on her hand.
So bright her beauty she dazed men’s eyes,
Like the blinding, glorious sun.
“Never knight,” they murmured, “gained such prize
Since ever the world begun.”
Seven maidens held up her train of white,
Inwrought with the precious gold,
And over it flowed in a stream of light
Her long, bright hair unrolled.
Seven pages, each with a lighted torch,
Precede her as she moves
With the long array to the ancient church
Within the beechen groves.
The priest stood mute with the holy book,
And scarce could utter a prayer,
As that lovely vision of light and youth
Knelt down before him there.
She vows the vows. Erick bends to place
The gold ring on her hand,
Prouder then, as he gazed on her face,
Than if King of the Swedish land.
The lights were bright in the hall that night,
But brighter Thekla’s glance,
As in wedded pride, by Erick’s side,
She led the bridal dance.
“Drink! and wave high the flaming pines;
God bless the bride so fair!
May a goodly race, like clustering vines,
Twine round the wedded pair!”
The “vivas” rung for the noble race,
Till they stirred the banners of gold,
And the bridegroom bow’d with a stately grace;
But the bride sat mute and cold
For the air seemed heavy as that of graves,
And the lights burned lurid and chill;
And she hears the dash of the far‐off waves,
And the creak of the mighty mill.
The “vivas” sound like an infant’s wail,
Or a demon’s laugh of scorn.
“Oh! would to God,” she murmured, all pale,
“That I had never been born!”