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Fridolin; Or, The Walk To The Iron Foundry
by [?]


A gentle was Fridolin,
And he his mistress dear,
Savern’s fair Countess, honored in
All truth and godly fear.
She was so meek, and, ah! so good!
Yet each wish of her wayward mood,
He would have studied to fulfil,
To please his God, with earnest will.

From the first hour when daylight shone
Till rang the vesper-chime,
He lived but for her will alone,
And deemed e’en that scarce time.
And if she said, “Less anxious be!”
His eye then glistened tearfully.
Thinking that he in duty failed,
And so before no toil he quailed.

And so, before her serving train,
The Countess loved to raise him;
While her fair mouth, in endless strain,
Was ever wont to praise him.
She never held him as her slave,
Her heart a child’s rights to him gave;
Her clear eye hung in fond delight
Upon his well-formed features bright.

Soon in the huntsman Robert’s breast
Was poisonous anger fired;
His black soul, long by lust possessed,
With malice was inspired;
He sought the Count, whom, quick in deed,
A traitor might with ease mislead,
As once from hunting home they rode,
And in his heart suspicion sowed.

“Happy art thou, great Count, in truth,”
Thus cunningly he spoke;
“For ne’er mistrust’s envenomed tooth
Thy golden slumbers broke;
A noble wife thy love rewards,
And modesty her person guards.
The tempter will be able ne’er
Her true fidelity to snare.”

A gloomy scowl the Count’s eye filled:
“What’s this thou say’st to me?
Shall I on woman’s virtue build,
Inconstant as the sea?
The flatterer’s mouth with ease may lure;
My trust is placed on ground more sure.
No one, methinks, dare ever burn
To tempt the wife of Count Savern.”

The other spoke: “Thou sayest it well,
The fool deserves thy scorn
Who ventures on such thoughts to dwell,
A mere retainer born,–
Who to the lady he obeys
Fears not his wishes’ lust to raise.”–
“What!” tremblingly the Count began,
“Dost speak, then, of a living man?”–

“Is, then, the thing, to all revealed,
Hid from my master’s view?
Yet, since with care from thee concealed,
I’d fain conceal it too”–
“Speak quickly, villain! speak or die!”
Exclaimed the other fearfully.
“Who dares to look on Cunigond?”
“‘Tis the fair page that is so fond.”

“He’s not ill-shaped in form, I wot,”
He craftily went on;
The Count meanwhile felt cold and hot,
By turns in every bone.
“Is’t possible thou seest not, sir,
How he has eyes for none but her?
At table ne’er attends to thee,
But sighs behind her ceaselessly?”

“Behold the rhymes that from him came
His passion to confess”–
“Confess!”–“And for an answering flame,–
The impious knave!–to press.
My gracious lady, soft and meek,
Through pity, doubtless, feared to speak;
That it has ‘scaped me, sore I rue;
What, lord, canst thou to help it do?”

Into the neighboring wood then rode
The Count, inflamed with wrath,
Where, in his iron foundry, glowed
The ore, and bubbled forth.
The workmen here, with busy hand,
The fire both late and early fanned.
The sparks fly out, the bellows ply,
As if the rock to liquefy.

The fire and water’s might twofold
Are here united found;
The mill-wheel, by the flood seized hold,
Is whirling round and round;
The works are clattering night and day,
With measured stroke the hammers play,
And, yielding to the mighty blows,
The very iron plastic grows.