Thursday, July 29, 2010



Friedrich Rückert

Old Friedrich Barbarossa,
The emperor renowned,
Inhabits now, enchanted,
A castle underground.

Not dead is he, but resting,
He still lives there today,
And in this hidden castle
He sits and sleeps away.

He took the empire’s glory
Down with him in its prime,
And will return in splendor
With it, in his own time.

The chair on which he slumbers
Of ivory is made,
The table is of marble
On which his head is laid.

His flowing beard, not flaxen,
But red with fiery glow,
Has grown right through the table
And to the stone below.

He nods and stirs in dreaming
And winks a sleepy eye,
And now and then he beckons
A servant, standing by.

He speaks to him in slumber:
"Find out, O dwarf, if still
You see the ravens flying
Above the castle hill.

And if the ancient ravens
Above the castle soar,
I still must sleep, enchanted,
A hundred years or more."


(Illustration is Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872), The Sleep of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa.)

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