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The Forge
by [?]


“Who’s here, beside foul weather?”–KING LEAR.

“Mine enemy’s dog, though he had bit me,
Should have stood that night against my fire”

[Note 44: This Poem was doubtless one of the results of Hood’s residence in Germany. It is suggested apparently in about equal proportions by the Walpurgis-night in Faust, and Schiller’s Gang nach dem Eisenhammer. Possibly Hood had been stirred up to the attempt by Retzsch’s outlines. He has mixed up localities with the utmost freedom, the Harz, the Black Forest, and the Scene of Schiller’s Poem. The influence of the Ingoldsby Legends is obvious throughout.]


Like a dead man gone to his shroud,
The sun has sunk in a copper cloud,
And the wind is rising squally and loud
With many a stormy token,–
Playing a wild funereal air
Through the branches bleak, bereaved, and bare,
To the dead leaves dancing here and there–
In short, if the truth were spoken,
It’s an ugly night for anywhere,
But an awful one for the Brocken!

For oh! to stop
On that mountain top,
After the dews of evening drop,
Is always a dreary frolic–
Then what must it be when nature groans,
And the very mountain murmurs and moans
As if it writhed with the cholic–
With other strange supernatural tones,
From wood, and water, and echoing stones,
Not to forget unburied bones–
In a region so diabolic!

A place where he whom we call Old Scratch,
By help of his Witches–a precious batch–
Gives midnight concerts and sermons,
In a Pulpit and Orchestra built to match,
A plot right worthy of him to hatch,
And well adapted, he knows, to catch
The musical, mystical Germans!

However it’s quite
As wild a night
As ever was known on that sinister height
Since the Demon-Dance was morriced–
The earth is dark, and the sky is scowling,
And the blast through the pines is howling and growling,
As if a thousand wolves were prowling
About in the old BLACK FOREST!

Madly, sadly, the Tempest raves
Through the narrow gullies and hollow caves,
And bursts on the rocks in windy waves,
Like the billows that roar
On a gusty shore
Mourning over the mariners’ graves–
Nay, more like a frantic lamentation
From a howling set
Of demons met
To wake a dead relation.

Badly, madly, the vapors fly
Over the dark distracted sky,
At a pace that no pen can paint!
Black and vague like the shadows of dreams,
Scudding over the moon that seems,
Shorn of half her usual beams,
As pale as if she would faint!

The lightning flashes,
The thunder crashes,
The trees encounter with horrible clashes,
While rolling up from marsh and bog,
Rank and rich,
As from Stygian ditch,
Rises a foul sulphureous fog,
Hinting that Satan himself is agog,–
But leaving at once this heroical pitch,
The night is a very bad night in which
You wouldn’t turn out a dog.

Yet ONE there is abroad in the storm,
And whenever by chance
The moon gets a glance,
She spies the Traveller’s lonely form,
Walking, leaping, striding along,
As none can do but the super-strong;
And flapping his arms to keep him warm,
For the breeze from the North is a regular starver,
And to tell the truth,
More keen, in sooth,
And cutting than any German carver!

However, no time it is to lag,
And on he scrambles from crag to crag,
Like one determined never to flag–
Now weathers a block
Of jutting rock,
With hardly room for a toe to wag;
But holding on by a timber snag,
That looks like the arm of a friendly hag;
Then stooping under a drooping bough,
Or leaping over some horrid chasm,
Enough to give any heart a spasm!
And sinking down a precipice now,
Keeping his feet the Deuce knows how,
In spots whence all creatures would keep aloof,
Except the Goat, with his cloven hoof,
Who clings to the shallowest ledge as if
He grew like the weed on the face of the cliff!
So down, still down, the Traveller goes,
Safe as the Chamois amid his snows,
Though fiercer than ever the hurricane blows,
And round him eddy, with whirl and whizz,
Tornadoes of hail, and sleet, and rain,
Enough to bewilder a weaker brain,
Or blanch any other visage than his,
Which spite of lightning, thunder and hail,
The blinding sleet and the freezing gale,
And the horrid abyss,
If his foot should miss,
Instead of tending at all to pale,
Like cheeks that feel the chill of affright–
Remains the very reverse of white!