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you know the minstrel wight, Who sings of strife so stern, Albert the Souter is he hight,
A burgher of Lucerne.
A merry man was he, I wot,
The night he made the lay, Returning from the bloody spot,
Where God had judged the day.
AN ANCIENT BALLAD,
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN.
The original of these verses occurs in a collection of German popular songs, entitled Sammlung Deutschen Volkslieder, Berlin 1807, published by Messrs Busching and Von der Hagen, both, and more especially the last, distinguished for their acquaintance with the ancient popular poetry and legendary history of Germany.
In the German editor's notice of the ballad, it is stated to have been extracted from a manuscript Chronicle of Nicholaus Thomann, chaplain to Saint Leonard in Weisenhorn, which bears the date 1533; and the song is stated by the author to have been generally sung in the neighbourhood at that early period. Thomann, as quo
ted by the German editor, seems faithfully to have believed the event he narrates. He quotes tomb-stones and obituaries to prove the existence of the personages of the ballad, and discovers that there actually died on the 11th May 1349, a Lady. Von Neuffen, Countess of Marstetten, who was by birth of the house of Moringer. This lady he supposes to have been Morringer's daughter mentioned in the ballad. He quotes the same authority for the death of Berckhold Von Neuffen in the same year. The editors, on the whole, seem to embrace the opinion of Professor Smith of Ulm, who, from the language of the ballad, ascribes its date to the fifteenth century.
The legend itself turns on an incident not peculiar to Germany, and which perhaps was not unlikely to happen in more instances than
one, when crusaders abode long in the Holy Land, and their disconsolate dames received no tidings of their fate. A story very similar in circumstances, but without the miraculous machinery of Saint Thomas, is told of one of the ancient Lords of Haigh-hall in Lancashire, the patrimonial inheritance of the late Countess of Balcarras ; and the particulars are represented in stained glass upon a window in that ancient manor house.
O, WILL you
hear a knightly tale of old Bohemian day, It was the noble Moringer in wedlock bed he lay, He halsed and kiss'd his dearest dame, that was as sweet as
May, And said, “Now, lady of my heart, attend the words I say.
“ 'Tis I have vow'd a pilgrimage unto a distant shrine, And I must seek Saint Thomas-land, and leave the land
Here shalt thou dwell the while in state, so thou wilt pledge
thy fay, That thou for my return will wait seven twelvemonths and
Then out and spoke that Lady bright, sore troubled in her
cheer, “ Now tell me true, thou noble knight, what order takest
thou here; And who shall lead thy vassal band, and hold thy lordly
sway, And be thy lady's guardian true when thou art far away?"
Out spoke the noble Moringer, “ Of that have thou no
There's many a valiant gentleman of me holds living fair,