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The golden corn was bending
Upon its fragile stalk,
While farmers, heedless of their fields,
Paced up and down in talk.

The men seemed stern and altered,
With looks cast on the ground;
With anxious faces, one by one,
The women gathered round;
All talk of flax, or spinning,
Or work, was put away;
The very children seemed afraid
To go alone to play.

One day, out in the meadow
With strangers from the town,
Some secret plan discussing,
The men walked up and down.
Yet, now and then seemed watching,
A strange uncertain gleam,
That looked like lances 'mid the trees,
That stood below the stream.

At eve they all assembled,
All care and doubt were fied;
With jovial laugh they feasted,
The hoard was nobly spread.
The elder of the village
Rose up, his glass in hand,
And cried, "We drink the downfall
" Of an accursed land!

"The night is growing darker,
" Ere one more day is flown,
" Bregenz, our foemen's stronghold,
" Bregenz shall be our own!"
The women shrank in terror
(Yet Pride, too, had her part),
But one poor Tyrol maiden
Felt death within her heart.

Before her, stood fair Bregenz;
Once more her towers arose;
What were the friends beside her?
Only her country's foes!
The faces of her kinsfolk,
The days of childhood flown,
The echoes of her mountains,
Reclaimed her as their own!

Nothing she heard around her,
(Though shouts rang forth again,)
Gone were the green Swiss valleys,
The pasture, and the plain;
Before her eyes one vision,
And in her heart one cry,
That said, "Go forth, save Bregenz,
And then, if need be, die!"

With trembling haste and breathless,
With noiseless step, she sped;
Horses and weary cattle
Were standing in the shed,
She loosed the strong white charger,
That fed from out her hand;
She mounted, and she turned his head
Towards her native land.

Outout into the darkness
Faster, and still more fast;
The smooth grass flies behind her,
The chestnut wood is past;
She looks up; clouds are heavy:
Why is her steed so slow?
Scarcely the wind beside them,
Can pass them as they go.

"Faster! " she cries, " faster!"
Eleven the church-bells chime;
" O God," she cries, " help Bregenz
And bring me there in time!"
But louder than bells' ringing,
Or lowing of the kine,
Grows nearer in the midnight
The rushing of the Rhine.

She strives to pierce the blackness.—,
And looser throws the rein;
Her steed must breast the waters
That dash above his mane.
How gallantly, how nobly,
He struggles through the foam,
And seein the far distance,
Shine out the lights of home!

Shall not the roaring waters
Their headlong gallop check?
The steed draws back in terror,
She leans above his neck
To watch the flowing darkness
The bank is high and steep,
One pausehe staggers forward,
And plunges in the deep.

Up the steep bank he bears her,
And now, they rush again
Towards the heights of Bregenz,
That Tower above the plain.
They reach the gate of Bregenz,
Just as the midnight rings,
And out come serf and soldier
To meet the news she brings.

Bregenz is saved! Ere daylight
Her battlements are manned;
Defiance greets the army
That marches on the land.
And if to deeds heroic
Should endless fame be paid,
Bregenz does well to honour
The noble Tyrol maid.

Three hundred years are vanished,
And yet upon the hill
An old stone gateway rises,
To do her honour still.
And there, when Bregenz women
Sit spinning in the shade,
They see in quaint old carving
The Charger and the Maid.

And when, to guard old Bregenz,
By gateway, street, and tower,
The warder paces all night long,
And calls each passing hour;
" Nine," " ten," " eleven," he cries aloud,
And then (O crown of Fame!)
When midnight pauses in the skies,
He calls the maiden's name!


THE stories being all finished, and the Wassail
too, we broke up as the Cathedral-bell
struck Twelve. I did not take leave of my
Travellers that night; for, it had come into my
head to reappear in conjunction with some
hot cotfee, at seven in the morning.

As I passed along the High Street, I heard
the Waits at a distance, and struck off to find
them. They were playing near one of the old