Tannhauser Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis

Rhyme Scheme: A BCDEFCCDAGCHCCICIJDK LHMDNCDOPQRBSTUVWCXJ CYZA2CCCCB2CC2CD2CCC CE2F2F2G2F2CCF2F2H2F 2F2CF2F2CIF2F2I2J2C2 F2K2CF2F2L2CCCCF2M2N 2CO2P2F2Q2F2F2F2F2CR 2CF2F2I2S2Q2CGF2F2IT 2H2F2F2F2CU2V2W2X2F2 Q2GF2Y2CCF2Z2Q2A3Q2F 2F2B3C2AIC3Q2ICY2CD3 E3F2CIAIF2C2CCCCJ2Q2 Q2F3D3CIF2CCCCCF2CZF 2N2CF2Y2G3F2F2Y2F2C3 P2F2Q2H3 CI3AJ3F2F2F2F2K3W2F2 F2C3CF2Q2CF2Y2F2F2F2 F2W2A2F2IF2F2CA2ZCF2 F2F2P2P2F2CCCJ3Q2F2F 2JCW2F2CZ2CCA2CCL3F2 CF2F2Q2A2CCJ2Z2F2CCF 2CW2F2Z2A2CCF2A2F2A2 A2C2F2F2F2CA2F2F2CD3 R2F2Q2F2F2A2F2J2D3A2 CJ2F2Y2M3F2F2C C3CF2F2CA2A2CF2F2F2C 3CF2Y2N3H3A2C3Q2W2CF 2Q2A2O3I2Q2CF2A2F2AF 2Z2A2 CCY2Y2P3F2Q3A2Q2D3CC R3F2CA2Z2CCCA2CF2CW2 F2F2S3T3CF2F2A2CF2K2 F2CCT3F2CCF2F2F2W2F2 J2F2U3F2Y2CY2F2F2F2C Y2F2F2F2Q2CF2Q2CA2B3 F2F2V3T3Y2W3Q2CA2A2C F2Q2CT2X3CF2F2CF3CY2 CF2F2F2CF2F2Y2F2Q2F2 F2A2Q2Y2ZY3F2CZF2I3C N2F3Z3F2F2Z2Z2CCCCF2 C2F2K2F2Z2A2F2CF2F2F 2F2F2A2F2Q2Y2Q2F2CCA 4K2Y3 Y2CF2F2Z2B4F2CA2Q2CC F2Y2F2F2Q2C4CF3CCCCC Q2Q2F2F2F2CCCY3Q2Q2C CF2CZ2F2CD4N2CF2G3F2 N2F2F2Q2N2F2N2F2YN2Z 2Q2F2W2N2F2F2B4Y2F2N 2 CCF2F2A2CE4F2Y2Z2CN2 F2F2Q2CX3F2N2F2B3F2F 2F2CF2CQ2A2CN2F2CCA2 F2F2CCY2Q2C4CCCF2F2C CCN2CCZ2CCA2F3F2Y2CC N2CN2CR2A2Q2Y2F2CF2N 2CF4A2C3N2CF2F2Q2 F2N2A2F2W2F2Q2F2F2Z2 N2CF2Z2Q2Q2F2I3R3F2N 2CG4Q2CZ2F2N2N2CY2Y2 CY2A2F2CF2YF2N2H4Z2F 2I4CF2Z2C N2F2CCY2N2CF2CF2F2A2 W2H4CF2F2G3F2F2CF2CN 2R2CCCN2CY2F2Y2CF2N2 Y2F2W2CF2Q2Y2CCCYN2Z 2N2F2 Y2F2CQ2O3CL3X3CCF2A2 CCA2B3CF2F2F2CQ2CCY2 F2F2J4Y2CCK4F2F2Y2CA 2CA2A2CCCCCY2F2CYCR3 Z2A2CA2F2F2Y2CQ2Q2Q2 B4F2F2Y2F2CF2A2CCF2Z 2Q2CF2A2A2F2F2F2F2F2 A2CA2F2CCCY2Y2F2F2F2 M3Y2A2Y2Q2N2F2F2CC3R 3CF2CCF2C2F3K2N2A2CF 2A2CF2N2CY2Z2Y2A2CQ2 R3CCF2Q2F2F2CW2CCKCQ 3F2R2 CN2F2CN2F2CN2C3Z2CF2 Q2F2A2N2CF2CKQ2CA2F2 Y2Q2F2CCA2N2F2T3Y2F2 A2F2Q2N2CPF2F2CF2F2F 2Y2F2CCQ2F2CF2N2CB4F 2F2N2CCCCR3F2Y2CCN2C F2KQ2CF2F2F2F2L4Q2A2 F2N2Y2CQ2N2CF2C2CF2C CQ2A2CY F2YCT3CCCCCF2F2CCM4A 2F2A2F3CCCCF2F2N2F2C F2N2CA2F2CN2G3CR2W2C CCCCA2N2F2CR2CN2CCF2 F2N2N2N2C2YCN2R2Y2Y2 CCN2N4F2R2Q2F2N2N2F2 Y2F2F2N2Y2N2 F2N2CF2F2Y2Y2R2CF2N2 CR2F2CF2F2R2CCQ2A2CF 2CQ2Q2N2F2O4I4CN2N2C N2F2F2F2A2A2N2N2A2R2 F2CF2F2A2F2Y2F2N2Y2Z 2YZ2F2F2R2F2CH4CN2F2 CR2N2F2F2Y2N2Q2CF2F2 F2A2F2F2F2F2Z2F2N2F2 J3N2N2Y2F2F2Q2R2N2R3 N2N2F2Q2Y2R3KF3F2Q2Y 2J4F2R2CN2A2A2F2A2CQ 2R2F2F2F2F2F2A2A2R2Q 2A2F2F2KF2F2F2F2CF2C F2F2F2F2C R2CN2B3Y2Q2

To my mother MayA
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The Landgrave Hermann held a gatheringB
Of minstrels minnesingers troubadoursC
At Wartburg in his palace and the knightD
Sir Tannhauser of France the greatest bardE
Inspired with heavenly visions and endowedF
With apprehension and rare utteranceC
Of noble music fared in thoughtful wiseC
Across the Horsel meadows Full of lightD
And large repose the peaceful valley layA
In the late splendor of the afternoonG
And level sunbeams lit the serious faceC
Of the young knight who journeyed to the westH
Towards the precipitous and rugged cliffsC
Scarred grim and torn with savage rifts and chasmsC
That in the distance loomed as soft and fairI
And purple as their shadows on the grassC
The tinkling chimes ran out athwart the airI
Proclaiming sunset ushering evening inJ
Although the sky yet glowed with yellow lightD
The ploughboy ere he led his cattle homeK
In the near meadow reverently kneltL
And doffed his cap and duly crossed his breastH
Whispering his Ave Mary as he heardM
The pealing vesper bell But still the knightD
Unmindful of the sacred hour announcedN
Disdainful or unconscious held his courseC
Would that I also like yon stupid wightD
Could kneel and hail the Virgin and believeO
He murmured bitterly beneath his breathP
Were I a pagan riding to contendQ
For the Olympic wreath O with what zealR
What fire of inspiration would I singB
The praises of the gods How may my lyreS
Glorify these whose very life I doubtT
The world is governed by one cruel GodU
Who brings a sword not peace A pallid ChristV
Unnatural perfect and a virgin coldW
They give us for a heaven of living godsC
Beautiful loving whose mere names were songX
A creed of suffering and despair walled inJ
On every side by brazen boundariesC
That limit the soul's vision and her hopeY
To a red hell or and unpeopled heavenZ
Yea I am lost already even nowA2
Am doomed to flaming torture for my thoughtsC
O gods O gods where shall my soul find peaceC
He raised his wan face to the faded skiesC
Now shadowing into twilight no responseC
Came from their sunless heights no miracleB2
As in the ancient days of answering godsC
With a long shuddering sigh he glanced to earthC2
Finding himself among the Horsel cliffsC
Gray sullen gaunt they towered on either sideD2
Scant shrubs sucked meagre life between the riftsC
Of their huge crags and made small darker spotsC
Upon their wrinkled sides the jaded horseC
Stumbled upon loose rattling fallen stonesC
Amidst the gathering dusk and blindly faredE2
Through the weird perilous pass As darkness waxedF2
And an oppressive mystery enwrappedF2
The roadstead and the rocks Sir TannhauserG2
Fancied he saw upon the mountain sideF2
The fluttering of white raiment With a senseC
Of wild joy and horror he gave pauseC
For his sagacious horse that reeked of sweatF2
Trembling in every limb confirmed his thoughtF2
That nothing human scaled that haunted cliffH2
The white thing seemed descending now a cloudF2
It looked and now a rag of drifted mistF2
Torn in the jagged gorge precipitousC
And now an apparition clad in whiteF2
Shapely and real then he lost it quiteF2
Gazing on nothing with blank foolish faceC
As with wide eyes he stood he was awareI
Of a strange splendor at his very sideF2
A presence and a majesty so greatF2
That ere he saw he felt it was divineI2
He turned and leaping from his horse fell proneJ2
In speechless adoration on the earthC2
Before the matchless goddess who appearedF2
With no less freshness of immortal youthK2
Than when first risen from foam of Paphian seasC
He heard delicious strains of melodyF2
Such as his highest muse had ne'er attainedF2
Float in the air while in the distance rangL2
Harsh and discordant jarring with those tonesC
The gallop of his frightened horse's hoofsC
Clattering in sudden freedom down the passC
A voice that made all music dissonanceC
Then thrilled through heart and flesh of that prone knightF2
Triumphantly The gods need but appearM2
And their usurped thrones are theirs againN2
Then tenderly Sweet knight I pray thee riseC
Worship me not for I desire thy loveO2
Look on me follow me for I am fainP2
Of thy fair human face He rose and lookedF2
Stirred by that heavenly flattery to the soulQ2
Her hair unbraided and unfilletedF2
Rained in a glittering shower to the groundF2
And cast forth lustre Round her zone was claspedF2
The scintillant cestus stiff with flaming goldF2
Thicker with restless gems than heaven with starsC
She might have flung the enchanted wonder forthR2
Her eyes her slightest gesture would sufficeC
To bind all men in blissful slaveryF2
She sprang upon the mountain's dangerous sideF2
With feet that left their print in flowers divineI2
Flushed amaryllis and blue hyacinthS2
Impurpled amaranth and asphodelQ2
Dewy with nectar and exhaling scentsC
Richer than all the roses of mid JuneG
The knight sped after her with wild eyes fixedF2
Upon her brightness as she lightly leaptF2
From crag to crag with flying auburn hairI
Like a gold cloud that lured him ever onT2
Higher and higher up the haunted cliffH2
At last amidst a grove of pines she pausedF2
Until he reached her breathing hard with hasteF2
Delight and wonder Then upon his handF2
She placed her own and all his blood at onceC
Tingled and hotly rushed to brow and cheekU2
At the supreme caress but the mere touchV2
Infused fresh life and when she looked at himW2
With gracious tenderness he felt himselfX2
Strong suddenly to bear the blinding lightF2
Of those great eyes Dear knight she murmured lowQ2
For love of me wilt thou accord this boonG
To grace my weary home in banishmentF2
His hungry eyes gave answer ere he spokeY2
In tones abrupt that startled his own earsC
With their strange harshness but with thanks profuseC
She guided him still holding his cold handF2
In her warm dainty palm unto a caveZ2
Whence a rare glory issued and a smellQ2
Of spice and roses frankincense and balmA3
They entering stood within a marble hallQ2
With straight slim pillars at whose farther endF2
The goddess led him to a spiral flightF2
Of stairs descending always 'midst black gloomB3
Into the very bowels of the earthC2
Down these with fearful swiftness they made wayA
The knight's feet touching not the solid stairI
But sliding down as in a vexing dreamC3
Blind feeling but that hand divine that stillQ2
Empowered him to walk on empty airI
Then he was dazzled by a sudden blazeC
In vast palace filled with reveling folkY2
Cunningly pictured on the ivory wallsC
Were rolling hills cool lakes and boscage greenD3
And all the summer landscape's various pompE3
The precious canopy aloft was carvedF2
In semblance of the pleached forest treesC
Enameled with the liveliest green wherethroughI
A light pierced more resplendent than the dayA
O'er the pale polished jasper of the floorI
Of burnished metal fretted and embossedF2
With all the marvelous story of her birthC2
Painted in prodigal splendor of rich tinctsC
And carved by heavenly artists crystal seasC
And long haired Nereids in their pearly shellsC
And all the wonder of her lucent limbsC
Sphered in a vermeil mist Upon the throneJ2
She took her seat the knight beside her stillQ2
Singing on couches of fresh asphodelQ2
And the dance ceased and the flushed revelers cameF3
In glittering phalanx to adore their queenD3
Beautiful girls with shining delicate headsC
Crested with living jewels fanned the airI
With flickering wings from naked shoulders softF2
Then with preluding low a thousand harpsC
And citherns and strange nameless instrumentsC
Sent through the fragrant air sweet symphoniesC
And the winged dancers waved in mazy roundsC
With changing lustres like a summer seaC
Fair boys with charming yellow hair crisp curledF2
And frail effeminate beauty the knight sawC
But of strong stalwart men like him were noneZ
He gazed thereon bewitched until the handF2
Of Venus erst withdrawn now fell againN2
Upon his own and roused him from his tranceC
He looked on her and as he looked a cloudF2
Auroral flaming as at sunrisingY2
Arose from nothing floating over themG3
In luminous folds like that vermilion mistF2
Penciled upon the throne and as it waxedF2
In density and brightness all the throngY2
Of festal dancers less and less distinctF2
Grew like pale spirits in a vague dim dreamC3
And vanished altogether and these twainP2
Shut from the world in that ambrosial cloudF2
Now with a glory inconceivableQ2
Vivid and conflagrant looked each on eachH3
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All hours came laden with their own delightsC
In that enchanted place wherein TimeI3
Knew no divisions harsh of night and dayA
But light was always and desire of sleepJ3
Was satisfied at once with slumber softF2
Desire of food with magical repastF2
By unseen hands on golden tables spreadF2
But these the knight accepted like a godF2
All less was lost in that excess of joyK3
The crowning marvel of her love for himW2
Assuring him of his divinityF2
Meanwhile remembrance of the earth appearedF2
Like the vague trouble of a transient dreamC3
The doubt the scruples the remorse for thoughtsC
Beyond his own control the constant thirstF2
For something fairer than his life more realQ2
Than airy revelations of his MuseC
Here was his soul's desire satisfiedF2
All nobler passions died his lyre he flungY2
Recklessly forth with vows to dedicateF2
His being to herself She knew and seizedF2
The moment of her mastery and conveyedF2
The lyre beyond his sight and memoryF2
With blandishment divine she changed for himW2
Each hour her mood a very woman nowA2
Fantastic voluble affectionateF2
And jealous of the vague unbodied airI
Exacting penitent and pacifiedF2
All in a breath And often she appearedF2
Majestic with celestial wrath with eyesC
That shot forth fire and a heavy browA2
Portentous as the lowering front of heavenZ
When the reverberant sullen thunder rollsC
Among the echoing clouds Thus she denouncedF2
Her ancient fickle worshippers who leftF2
Her altars desecrate her fires unfedF2
Her name forgotten But I reign I reignP2
She would shrill forth triumphant yea I reignP2
Men name me not but worship me unnamedF2
Beauty and Love within their heart of heartsC
Not with bent knees and empty breath of wordsC
But with devoted sacrifice of livesC
Then melting in a moment she would weepJ3
Ambrosial tears pathetic full of guileQ2
Accusing her own base ingratitudeF2
In craving worship when she had his heartF2
Her priceless knight her peerless paladinJ
Her Tannhauser then with an artful glanceC
Of lovely helplessness entreated himW2
Not to desert her like the faithless worldF2
For these unbeautiful and barbarous godsC
Or she would never cease her prayers to JoveZ2
Until he took from her the heavy curseC
Of immortality With closer vowsC
The knight then sealed his worship and forsworeA2
All other aims and deeds to serve her causeC
Thus passed unnoted seven barren yearsC
Of reckless passion and voluptuous slothL3
Undignified by any lofty thoughtF2
In his degraded mind that sometime wasC
Endowed with noble capabilityF2
From revelry to revelry he passedF2
Craving more pungent pleasure momentlyQ2
And new intoxications and each hourA2
The siren goddess answered his desiresC
Once when she left him with a weary senseC
Of utter lassitude he sat aloneJ2
And raising listless eyes he saw himselfZ2
In a great burnished mirror wrought aboutF2
With cunning imagery of twisted vinesC
He scarcely knew those sunken red rimmed eyesC
For his who in the flush of manhood rodeF2
Among the cliffs and followed up the cragsC
The flying temptress and there fell on himW2
A horror of her beauty a disgustF2
For his degenerate and corrupted lifeZ2
With irresistible intense desireA2
To feel the breath of heaven on his faceC
Then as Fate willed who rules above the godsC
He saw within the glass behind him glideF2
The form of Venus Certain of her powerA2
She had laid by in fond securityF2
The enchanted cestus and Sir TannhauserA2
With surfeited regard beheld her nowA2
No fairer than the women of the earthC2
Whom with serenity and health he leftF2
Duped by a lovely witch Before he movedF2
She knew her destiny and when he turnedF2
He seemed to drop a mask disclosing thusC
An alien face and eyes with vision trueA2
That for long time with glamour had been blindF2
Hiding the hideous rage within her breastF2
With girlish simpleness of folded handsC
Auroral blushes and sweet shamefast mienD3
She spoke Behold my love I have cast forthR2
All magic blandishments and sorceryF2
For I have dreamed a dream so terribleQ2
That I awoke to find my pillow stainedF2
With tears as of real woe I thought my beltF2
By Vulcan wrought with matchless skill and powerA2
Was the sole bond between us this being doffedF2
I seemed to thee an old unlovely croneJ2
Wrinkled by every year that I have seenD3
Thou turnedst from me with a brutal sneerA2
So that I woke with weeping Then I roseC
And drew the glittering girdle from my zoneJ2
Jealous thereof yet full of fears and saidF2
'If it be this he loves then let him goY2
I have no solace as a mortal hathM3
No hope of change or death to comfort meF2
Through all eternity yet he is freeF2
Though I could hold him fast with heavy chainsC
Bound in perpetual imprisonment '-
Tell me my vision was a baseless dreamC3
See I am kneeling and kiss thy handsC
In pity look on me before thy wordF2
Condemns me to immortal miseryF2
As she looked down the infernal influenceC
Worked on his soul again for she was fairA2
Beyond imagination and her browA2
Seemed luminous with high self sacrificeC
He bent and kissed her head warm shining softF2
With its close curling gold and love revivedF2
But ere he spoke he heard the distant soundF2
Of one sweet smitten lyre and a gleamC3
Of violent anger flashed across the faceC
Upraised to his in feigned simplicityF2
And singleness of purpose Then he sprangY2
Well nigh a god himself with sudden strengthN3
to vanquish and resist beyond her reachH3
Crying My old Muse calls me and I hearA2
Thy fateful vision is no baseless dreamC3
I will be gone from this accursed hallQ2
Then she too rose dilating over himW2
And sullen clouds veiled all her rosy limbsC
Unto her girdle and her head appearedF2
Refulgent and her voice rang wrathfullyQ2
Have I cajoled and flattered thee till nowA2
To lose thee thus How wilt thou make escapeO3
ONCE BEING MINE THOU ART FOREVER MINEI2
Yea not my love but my poor slave and foolQ2
But he with both hands pressed upon his eyesC
Against that blinding lustre heeded notF2
Her thundered words and cried in sharp despairA2
Help me O Virgin Mary and thereatF2
The very bases of the hall gave wayA
The roof was rived the goddess disappearedF2
And Tannhauser stood free upon the cliffZ2
Amidst the morning sunshine and fresh airA2
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Around him were the tumbled blocks and cragsC
Huge ridges and sharp juts of flinty peaksC
Black caves and masses of the grim bald rockY2
The ethereal unfathomable skyY2
Hung over him the valley lay beneathP3
Dotted with yellow hayricks that exhaledF2
Sweet healthy odors to the mountain topQ3
He breathed intoxicate the infinite airA2
And plucked the heather blossoms where they blewQ2
Reckless with light and dew in crannies greenD3
And scarcely saw their darling bells for tearsC
No sounds of labor reached him from the farmsC
And hamlets trim nor from the furrowed glebeR3
But a serene and sabbath stillness reignedF2
Till broken by the faint melodious chimesC
Of the small village church that called to prayerA2
He hurried down the rugged scarped cliffZ2
And swung himself from shelving granite slopesC
To narrow foot holds near wide throated chasmsC
Tearing against the sharp stones his bleeding handsC
With long hair flying from his dripping browA2
Uncovered head and white exalted faceC
No memory had he of his smooth ascentF2
No thought of fear upon those dreadful hillsC
He only heard the bell inviting himW2
To satisfy the craving of his heartF2
For worship 'midst his fellow men He reachedF2
The beaten dusty road and passed thereonS3
The pious peasants faring towards the churchT3
And scarce refrained from greeting them like friendsC
Dearly beloved after long absence metF2
How more than fair the sunburnt wenches lookedF2
In their rough homespun gowns and coifs demureA2
After the beauty of bare rosy limbsC
And odorous loose hair He noted notF2
Suspicious glances on his garb uncouthK2
His air extravagant and face distraughtF2
With bursts of laughter from the red cheeked boysC
And prudent crossings of the women's breastsC
He passed the flowering close about the churchT3
And trod the well worn path with throbbing heartF2
The little heather bell between his lipsC
And his eyes fastened on the good green grassC
Thus entered he the sanctuary litF2
With frequent tapers and with sunbeams stainedF2
Through painted glass How pure and innocentF2
The waiting congregation seemed to himW2
Kneeling or seated with calm brows upraisedF2
With faltering strength he cowered down aloneJ2
And held sincere communion with the LordF2
For one brief moment in a sudden gushU3
Of blessed tears The minister of GodF2
Rose to invoke a blessing on his flockY2
And then began the service not in wordsC
To raise the lowly and to heal the sickY2
But an alien tongue with phrases formedF2
And meaningless observances The knightF2
Unmoved yet thirsting for the simple wordF2
That might have moved him held his bitter thoughtsC
But when in his own speech a new priest spakeY2
Looked up with hope revived and heard the textF2
Go preach the Gospel unto all the worldF2
He that believes and is baptized is savedF2
He that believeth not is damned in hellQ2
He sat with neck thrust forth and staring eyesC
The crowded congregation disappearedF2
He felt alone in some black sea of hellQ2
While a great light smote one exalted faceC
Vivid already with prophetic fireA2
Whose fatal mouth now thundered forth his doomB3
He longed in that void circle to cry outF2
With one clear shriek but sense and voice seemed boundF2
And his parched tongue clave useless to his mouthV3
As the last words resounded through the churchT3
And once again the pastor blessed his flockY2
Who serious and subdued passed slowly downW3
The arrow aisle none noted near the wallQ2
A fallen man with face upon his kneesC
A heap of huddled garments and loose hairA2
Unconscious 'mid the rustling murmurous stirA2
'Midst light and rural smell of grass and flowersC
Let in athwart the doorway One lone priestF2
Darkening the altar lights moved noiselesslyQ2
Now with the yellow glow upon his faceC
Now a black shadow gliding farther onT2
Amidst the smooth slim pillars of hewn ashX3
But from the vacant aisles he heard at onceC
A hollow sigh heaved from a depth profoundF2
Upholding his last light above his headF2
And peering eagerly amidst the stallsC
He cried Be blest who cometh in God's nameF3
Then the gaunt form of Tannhauser aroseC
Father I am a sinner and I seekY2
Forgiveness and help by whatso meansC
I can regain the joy of peace with GodF2
The Lord hath mercy on the penitentF2
'Although thy sins be scarlet ' He hath saidF2
'Will I not make them white as wool ' ConfessC
And I will shrive you Thus the good priest movedF2
Towards the remorseful knight and pressed his handF2
But shrinking down he drew his fingers backY2
From the kind palm and kissed the friar's feetF2
Thy pure hand is anointed and can healQ2
The cool calm pressure brings back sanityF2
And what serene past joys yet touch me notF2
My contact is pollution hear O hearA2
While I disburden my charged soul He layQ2
Casting about for words and strength to speakY2
O father is there help for such a oneZ
In tones of deep abasement he beganY3
Who hath rebelled against the laws of GodF2
With pride no less presumptuous than hisC
Who lost thereby his rank in heaven My sonZ
There is atonement for all sins or slightF2
Or difficult proportioned to the crimeI3
Though this may be the staining of thy handsC
With blood of kinsmen or of fellow menN2
My hands are white my crime hath found no nameF3
This side of hell yet though my heart strings snapZ3
To live it over let me make the attemptF2
I was a knight and bard with such a giftF2
Of revelation that no hour of lifeZ2
Lacked beauty and adornment in myselfZ2
The seat and centre of all happinessC
What inspiration could my lofty MuseC
Draw from those common and familiar themesC
Painted upon the windows and the wallsC
Of every church the mother and her childF2
The miracle and mystery of the birthC2
The death the resurrection Fool and blindF2
That saw not symbols of eternal truthK2
In that grand tragedy and victoryF2
Significant and infinite as lifeZ2
What tortures did my skeptic soul endureA2
At war against herself and all mankindF2
The restless nights of feverish sleeplessnessC
With balancing of reasons nicely weighedF2
The dawn that brought no hope nor energyF2
The blasphemous arraignment of the LordF2
Taxing His glorious divinityF2
With all the grief and folly of the worldF2
Then came relapses into abject fearA2
And hollow prayer and praise from craven heartF2
Before a sculptured Venus I would kneelQ2
Crown her with flowers worship her and cryY2
'O large and noble type of our idealQ2
At least my heart and prayer return to theeF2
Amidst a faithless world of proselytesC
Madonna Mary with her virgin lipsC
And eyes that look perpetual reproachA4
Insults and is a blasphemy on youthK2
Is she to claim the worship of a manY3
Hot with the first rich flush of ripened life '-
Realities like phantoms glided byY2
Unnoted 'midst the torment and delightsC
Of my conflicting spirit and I doffedF2
the modest Christian weeds of charityF2
And fit humility and steeled myselfZ2
In pagan panoply of stoicismB4
And self sufficing pride Yet constantlyF2
I gained men's charmed attention and applauseC
With the wild strains I smote from out my lyreA2
To me the native language of my soulQ2
To them attractive and miraculousC
As all things whose solution and whose sourceC
Remain a mystery Then came suddenlyF2
The summons to attend the gatheringY2
Of minstrels at the Landgrave Hermann's courtF2
Resolved to publish there my pagan creedF2
In harmonies so high and beautifulQ2
That all the world would share my zeal and faithC4
I journeyed towards the haunted Horsel cliffsC
O God how may I tell you how SHE cameF3
The temptress of a hundred centuriesC
Yet fresh as April She bewitched my senseC
Poisoned my judgment with sweet flatteriesC
And for I may not guess how many yearsC
Held me a captive in degrading bondsC
There is no sin of lust so lewd and foulQ2
Which I learned not in that alluring hellQ2
Until this morn I snapped the ignoble tieF2
By calling on the Mother of our LordF2
O for the power to stand again erectF2
And look men in the eyes What penitenceC
What scourging of the flesh what rigid fastsC
What terrible privations may sufficeC
To cleanse me in the sight of God and manY3
Ill omened silence followed his appealQ2
Patient and motionless he lay awhileQ2
Then sprang unto his feet with sudden forceC
Confronting in his breathless vehemenceC
With palpitating heart the timid priestF2
Answer me as you hope for a responseC
One day at the great judgment seat yourselfZ2
I cannot answer said the timid priestF2
I have not understood Just God is thisC
The curse Thou layest upon me I outstripD4
The sympathy and brotherhood of menN2
So far removed is my experienceC
From their clean innocence Inspire meF2
Prompt me to words that bring me near to themG3
Father in gentler accents he resumedF2
Thank Heaven at your every orisonN2
That sin like mine you cannot apprehendF2
More than the truth perchance I have confessedF2
But I have sinned and darkly this is trueQ2
And I have suffered and am suffering nowN2
Is there no help in your great Christian creedF2
Of liberal charity for such a oneN2
My son the priest replied your speech distraughtF2
Hath quite bewildered me I fain would hopeY
That Christ's large charity can reach your sinN2
But I know naught I cannot but believeZ2
That the enchantress who first tempted youQ2
Must be the Evil one your early doubtF2
Was the possession of your soul by himW2
Travel across the mountain to the townN2
The first cathedral town upon the roadF2
That leads to Rome a sage and reverend priestF2
The Bishop Adrian bides there Say you have comeB4
From his leal servant Friar LodovickY2
He hath vast lore and great authorityF2
And may absolve you freely of your sinN2
-
Over the rolling hills through summer fieldsC
By noisy villages and lonely lanesC
Through glowing days when all the landscape stretchedF2
Shimmering in the heat a pilgrim faredF2
Towards the cathedral town Sir TannhauserA2
Had donned the mournful sackcloth girt his loinsC
With a coarse rope that ate into his fleshE4
Muffled a cowl about his shaven headF2
Hung a great leaden cross around his neckY2
And bearing in his hands a knotty staffZ2
With swollen sandaled feet he held his courseC
He snatched scant rest at twilight or at dawnN2
When his forced travel was least difficultF2
But most he journeyed when the sky o'ercastF2
Uprolled its threatening clouds of dusky blueQ2
And angry thunder grumbled through the hillsC
And earth grew dark at noonday till the flashX3
Of the thin lightning through the wide sky leaptF2
And tumbling showers scoured along the plainN2
Then folk who saw the pilgrim penitentF2
Drenched weird and hastening as as to some strange doomB3
Swore that the wandering Jew had crossed their landF2
And the Lord Christ had sent the deadly boltF2
Harmless upon his cursed immortal headF2
At length the hill side city's spires and roofsC
With all its western windows smitten redF2
By a rich sunset and with massive towersC
Of its cathedral overtopping allQ2
greeted his sight Some weary paces moreA2
And as the twilight deepened in the streetsC
He stood within the minster How sereneN2
In sculptured calm of centuries it seemedF2
How cool and spacious all the dim lit aislesC
Still hazy with fumes of frankincenseC
The vesper had been said yet here and thereA2
A wrinkled beldam or mourner veiledF2
Or burly burgher on the cold floor kneltF2
And still the organist with wandering handsC
Drew from the keys mysterious melodiesC
And filled the church with flying waifs of songY2
That with ethereal beauty moved the soulQ2
To a more tender prayer and gentler faithC4
Than choral anthems and the solemn massC
A thousand memories sweet to bitternessC
Rushed on the knight and filled his eyes with tearsC
Youth's blamelessness and faith forever lostF2
The love of his neglected lyre his artF2
Revived by these aerial harmoniesC
He was unworthy now to touch the stringsC
Too base to stir men's soul to ecstasyC
And high resolves as in the days agoneN2
And yet with all his spirit's earnestnessC
He yearned to feel the lyre between his handsC
To utter all the trouble of his lifeZ2
Unto the Muse who understands and helpsC
Outworn with travel soothed to drowsinessC
By dying music and sweet scented airA2
His limbs relaxed and sleep possessed his frameF3
Auroral light the eastern oriels touchedF2
When with delicious sense of rest he wokeY2
Amidst the cast and silent empty aislesC
God's peace hath fallen upon me in this placeC
This is my Bethel here I feel againN2
A holy calm if not of innocenceC
Yet purest after that the calm sereneN2
Of expiation and forgivenessC
He spake and passed with staff and wallet forthR2
Through the tall portal to the open squareA2
And turning paused to look upon the pileQ2
The northern front against the crystal skyY2
Loomed dark and heavy full of sombre shadeF2
With each projecting buttress carven crossC
Gable and mullion tipped with laughing lightF2
By the slant sunbeams of the risen mornN2
The noisy swallows wheeled above their nestsC
Builded in hidden nooks about the porchF4
No human life was stirring in the squareA2
Save now and then a rumbling market teamC3
Fresh from the fields and farms without the townN2
He knelt upon the broad cathedral stepsC
And kissed the moistened stone while overheadF2
The circling swallows sang and all aroundF2
The mighty city lay asleep and stillQ2
-
To stranger's ears must yet again be madeF2
The terrible confession yet againN2
A deathly chill with something worse than fearA2
Seized the knight's heart who knew his every wordF2
Widened the gulf between his kind and himW2
The Bishop sat with pomp of mitred headF2
In pride of proven virtue hearkening to allQ2
With cold official apathy nor madeF2
A sign of pity nor encouragementF2
The friar understood the pilgrim's griefZ2
The language of his eyes his speech aloneN2
Was alien to these kind untutored earsC
But this was truly to be misconstruedF2
To tear each palpitating word aliveZ2
From out the depths of his remorseful soulQ2
And have it weighed with the precision coolQ2
And the nice logic of a reasoning mindF2
This spiritual Father judged his crimeI3
As the mad mischief of a reckless boyR3
That call for strict immediate punishmentF2
But Tannhauser who felt himself a manN2
Though base yet fallen through passions and rare giftsC
Of an exuberant nature rankly richG4
And knew his weary head was growing grayQ2
With a life's terrible experienceC
Found his old sense of proper worth reviveZ2
But modestly he ended Yet I feltF2
O holy Father in the church this mornN2
A strange security a peace sereneN2
As though e'en yet the Lord regarded meC
With merciful compassion yea as thoughY2
Even so vile a worm as I might workY2
Mine own salvation through repentant prayersC
Presumptuous man it is no easy taskY2
To expiate such sin a space of prayerA2
That deprecates the anger of the LordF2
A pilgrimage through pleasant summer landsC
May not atone for years of impious lustF2
Thy heart hath lied to thee in offering hopeY
Is there no hope on earth the pilgrim sighedF2
None through thy penance said the saintly manN2
Yet there may be through mediation helpH4
There is a man who by a blameless lifeZ2
Hath won the right to intercede with GodF2
No sins of his own flesh hath he to purgeI4
The Cardinal Filippo he abidesC
Within the Holy City Seek him outF2
This is my only counsel through thyselfZ2
Can be no help and no forgivenessC
-
How different from the buoyant joy of mornN2
Was this discouraged sense of lassitudeF2
The Bishop's words were ringing in his earsC
Measured and pitiless and blent with theseC
The memory of the goddess' last wild cryY2
ONCE BEING MINE THOU ART FOREVER MINEN2
Was it the truth despite his penitenceC
And the dedication of his thought to GodF2
That still some portion of himself was hersC
Some lust survived some criminal regretF2
For her corrupted love He searched his heartF2
All was remorse religious and sincereA2
And yet her dreadful curse still haunted himW2
For all men shunned him and denied him helpH4
Knowing at once in looking on his faceC
Ploughed with deep lines and prematurely oldF2
That he had struggled with some deadly fiendF2
And that he was no longer kin to themG3
Just past the outskirts of the town he stoppedF2
To strengthen will and courage to proceedF2
The storm had broken o'er the sultry streetsC
But now the lessening clouds were flying eastF2
And though the gentle shower still wet his faceC
The west was cloudless while the sun went downN2
And the bright seven colored arch stood forthR2
Against the opposite dull gray There wasC
A beauty in the mingled storm and peaceC
Beyond clear sunshine as the vast green fieldsC
Basked in soft light though glistening yet with rainN2
The roar of all the town was now a buzzC
Less than the insects' drowsy murmuringY2
That whirred their gauzy wings around his headF2
The breeze that follows on the sunsettingY2
Was blowing whiffs of bruised and dripping grassC
Into the heated city But he stoodF2
Disconsolate with thoughts of fate and sinN2
Still wrestling with his soul to win it backY2
From her who claimed it to eternityF2
Then on the delicate air there came to himW2
The intonation of the minster bellsC
Chiming the vespers musical and faintF2
He knew not what of dear and beautifulQ2
There was in those familiar peals that spakeY2
Of his first boyhood and his innocenceC
Leading him back with gracious influenceC
To pleasant thoughts and tender memoriesC
And last recalling the fair hour of hopeY
He passed that morning in the church AgainN2
The glad assurance of God's boundless loveZ2
Filled all his being and he rose sereneN2
And journeyed forward with a calm contentF2
-
Southward he wended and the landscape tookY2
A warmer tone the sky a richer lightF2
The gardens of the graceful festooned with hopsC
With their slight tendrils binding pole to poleQ2
Gave place to orchards and the trellised grapeO3
The hedges were enwreathed with trailing vinesC
With clustering shapely bunches 'midst the growthL3
Of tangled greenery The elm and ashX3
Less frequent grew than cactus cypressesC
And golden fruited or large blossomed treesC
The far hills took the hue of the dove's breastF2
Veiled in gray mist of olive groves No moreA2
He passed dark moated strongholds of grim knightsC
But terraces with marble paven stepsC
With fountains leaping in the sunny airA2
And hanging gardens full of sumptuous bloomB3
Then cloisters guarded by their dead gray wallsC
Where now and then a golden globe of fruitF2
Or full flushed flower peered out upon the roadF2
Nodding against the stone and where he heardF2
Sometimes the voices of the chanting monksC
Sometimes the laugh of children at their playQ2
Amidst the quaint old gardens But these sightsC
Were in the suburbs of the wealthy townsC
For many a day through wildernesses rankY2
Or marshy feverous meadow lands he faredF2
The fierce sun smiting his close muffled headF2
Or 'midst the Alpine gorges faced the stormJ4
That drave adown the gullies melted snowY2
And clattering boulders from the mountain topsC
At times between the mountains and the seaC
Fair prospects opened with the boundless stretchK4
Of restless tideless water by his sideF2
And their long wash upon the yellow sandF2
Beneath this generous sky the country folkY2
Could lead a freer life the fat green fieldsC
Offered rich pasturage athwart the airA2
Rang tinkling cow bells and the shepherds' pipesC
The knight met many a strolling troubadourA2
Bearing his cithern flute or dulcimerA2
And oft beneath some castle's balconyC
At night he heard their mellow voices riseC
Blent with stringed instruments or tambourinesC
Chanting some lay as natural as a bird'sC
Then Nature stole with healthy influenceC
Into his thoughts his love of beauty wokeY2
His Muse inspired dreams as in the pastF2
But after this came crueler remorseC
And he would tighten round his loins the ropeY
And lie for hours beside some wayside crossC
And feel himself unworthy to enjoyR3
The splendid gift and privilege of lifeZ2
Then forth he hurried spurred by his desireA2
To reach the City of the Seven HillsC
And gain his absolution Some leagues moreA2
Would bring him to the vast Campagna landF2
When by a roadside well he paused to restF2
'T was noon and reapers in the field hard byY2
Lay neath the trees upon the sun scorched grassC
But from their midst one came towards the wellQ2
Not trudging like a man forespent with toilQ2
But frisking like a child at holidayQ2
With light steps The pilgrim watched him comeB4
And found him scarcely older than a childF2
A large mouthed earthen pitcher in his handF2
And a guitar upon his shoulder slungY2
A wide straw hat threw all his face in shadeF2
But doffing this to catch whatever breezeC
Might stir among the branches he disclosedF2
A charming head of rippled auburn hairA2
A frank fair face as lovely as a girlsC
With great soft eyes as mild and grave as kine'sC
Above his head he slipped the instrumentF2
And laid it with his hat upon the turfZ2
Lowered his pitcher down the well head coolQ2
And drew it dripping upward ere he sawC
The watchful pilgrim craving as he thoughtF2
The precious draught Your pardon holy sirA2
Drink first he cried before I take the jarA2
Unto my father in the reaping fieldF2
Touched by the cordial kindness of the ladF2
The pilgrim answered Thanks my thirst is quenchedF2
From mine own palm The stranger deftly poisedF2
The brimming pitcher on his head and turnedF2
Back to the reaping folk while TannhauserA2
Looked after him across the sunny fieldsC
Clasping each hand about his waist to bearA2
The balanced pitcher then down glancing foundF2
The lad's guitar near by and fell at onceC
To striking its tuned string with wandering handsC
And pensive eyes filled full of tender dreamsC
Yea holy sir it is a worthless thingY2
And yet I love it for I make it speakY2
The boy again stood by him and dispelledF2
His train of fantasies half sweet half sadF2
That was not in my thought the knight repliedF2
Its worth is more than rubies whoso hathM3
The art to make this speak is raised therebyY2
Above all loneliness or grief or fearA2
More to himself than to the lad he spakeY2
Who understanding not stood doubtfullyQ2
At a loss for answer but the knight went onN2
How came it in your hands and who hath tunedF2
your voice to follow it I am unskilledF2
Good father but my mother smote its stringsC
To music rare Diverted from one themeC3
Pleased with the winsome candor of the boyR3
The knight encouraged him to confidenceC
Then his own gift of minstrelsy revealedF2
And told bright tales of his first wanderingsC
When in lords' castles and kings' palacesC
Men still made place for him for in his landF2
The gift was rare and valued at its worthC2
And brought great victory and sounding fameF3
Thus in retracing all his pleasant youthK2
His suffering passed as though it had not beenN2
Wide eyed and open mouthed the boy gave earA2
His fair face flushing with the sudden thoughtsC
That went and came then as the pilgrim ceasedF2
Drew breath and spake And where now is your lyreA2
The knight with both hands hid his changed white faceC
Crying aloud Lost lost forever lostF2
Then gathering strength he bared his face againN2
Unto the frightened wondering boy and roseC
With hasty fear Ah child you bring me backY2
Unwitting to remembrance of my griefZ2
For which I donned eternal garb of woeY2
And yet I owe you thanks for one sweet hourA2
Of healthy human intercourse and peaceC
'T is not for me to tarry by the wayQ2
Farewell The impetuous remorseful boyR3
Seeing sharp pain on that kind countenanceC
Fell at his feet and cried Forgive my wordsC
Witless but innocent and leave me notF2
Without a blessing Moved unutterablyQ2
The pilgrim kissed with trembling lips his headF2
And muttered At this moment would to GodF2
That I were worthy Then waved wasted handsC
Over the youth in act of blessing himW2
But faltered Cleanse me through his innocenceC
O heavenly Father and with quickening stepsC
Hastened away upon the road to RomeK
The noon was past the reapers drew broad swathsC
With scythes sun smitten 'midst the ripened cropQ3
Thin shadows of the afternoon slept softF2
On the green meadows as the knight passed forthR2
-
He trudged amidst the sea of poisonous flowersC
On the Campagna's undulating plainN2
With Rome the many steepled many toweredF2
Before him regnant on her throne of hillsC
A thick blue cloud of haze o'erhung the townN2
But the fast sinking sun struck fiery lightF2
From shining crosses roofs and flashing domesC
Across his path an arching bridge of stoneN2
Was raised above a shrunken yellow streamC3
Hurrying with the light on every waveZ2
Towards the great town and outward to the seaC
Upon the bridge's crest he paused and leanedF2
Against the barrier throwing back his cowlQ2
And gazed upon the dull unlovely floodF2
That was the Tiber Quaggy banks lay bareA2
Muddy and miry glittering in the sunN2
And myriad insects hovered o'er the reedsC
Whose lithe moist tips by listless airs were stirredF2
When the low sun had dropped behind the hillsC
He found himself within the streets of RomeK
Walking as in a sleep where naught seemed realQ2
The chattering hubbub of the market placeC
Was over now but voices smote his earA2
Of garrulous citizens who jostled pastF2
Loud cries gay laughter snatches of sweet songY2
The tinkling fountains set in gardens coolQ2
About the pillared palaces and blentF2
With trickling of the conduits in the squaresC
The noisy teams within the narrow streetsC
All these the stranger heard and did not hearA2
While ringing bells pealed out above the townN2
And calm gray twilight skies stretched over itF2
Wide open stood the doors of every churchT3
And through the porches pressed a streaming throngY2
Vague wonderment perplexed him at the sightF2
Of broken columns raised to JupiterA2
Beside the cross immense cathedrals rearedF2
Upon a dead faith's ruins all the whirlQ2
And eager bustle of the living townN2
Filling the storied streets whose very stonesC
Were solemn monuments and spake of deathP
Although he wrestled with himself the thoughtF2
Of that poor past religion smote his heartF2
With a huge pity and deep sympathyC
Beyond the fervor which the Church inspiredF2
Where was the noble race who ruled the worldF2
Moulded of purest elements and stuffedF2
With sternest virtues every man a kingY2
Wearing the purple native in his heartF2
These lounging beggars stealthy monks and priestsC
And womanish patricians filled their placeC
Thus Tannhauser still half an infidelQ2
Pagan through mind and Christian through the heartF2
Fared thoughtfully with wandering aimless stepsC
Till in the dying glimmer of the dayF2
He raised his eyes and found himself aloneN2
Amid the ruined arches broken shaftsC
And huge arena of the ColiseumB4
He did not see it as it was dim litF2
By something less than day and more than nightF2
With wan reflections of the rising moonN2
Rather divined than seen on ivied wallsC
And crumbled battlements and topless columnsC
But by the light of all the ancient daysC
Ringed with keen eager faces living eyesC
Fixed on the circus with a savage joyR3
Where brandished swords flashed white and human bloodF2
Streamed o'er the thirsty dust and Death was kingY2
He started shuddering and drew breath to seeC
The foul pit choked with weeds and tumbled stonesC
The cross raised midmost and the peaceful moonN2
Shining o'er all and fell upon his kneesC
Restored to faith in one wise loving GodF2
Day followed day and still he bode in RomeK
Waiting his audience with the CardinalQ2
And from the gates on pretext frivolousC
Passed daily forth his Eminency sleptF2
Again his Eminency was fatiguedF2
By tedious sessions of the Papal courtF2
And thus the patient pilgrim was referredF2
Unto a later hour At last the pageL4
Bore him a missive with Filippo's sealQ2
That in his name commended TannhauserA2
Unto the Pope The worn discouraged knightF2
Read the brief scroll then sadly forth againN2
Along the bosky alleys of the parkY2
Passed to the glare and noise of summer streetsC
Good God he muttered Thou hast ears for allQ2
And sendest help and comfort yet these menN2
Thy saintly ministers must deck themselvesC
With arrogance and from their large delightF2
In all the beauty of the beauteous earthC2
And peace of indolent untempted soulsC
Deny the hungry outcast a bare wordF2
Yet even as he nourished bitter thoughtsC
He felt a depth of clear serenityC
Unruffled in his heart beneath it allQ2
No outward object now had farther powerA2
To wound him there for the brooding o'er those deepsC
Of vast contrition was boundless hopeY
-
Yet not to leave a human chance untriedF2
He sought the absolution of the PopeY
In a great hall with airy galleriesC
Thronged with high dignitaries of the ChurchT3
He took his seat amidst the humblest friarsC
Through open windows came sweet garden smellsC
Bright morning light and twittered song of birdsC
Around the hall flashed gold and sunlit gemsC
And splendid wealth of color white stoled priestsC
And scarlet cardinals and bishops cladF2
In violet vestments while beneath the shadeF2
Of the high gallery huddled dusky shapesC
With faded travel tattered sombre smocksC
And shaven heads and girdles of coarse hempM4
Some pilgrims penitent like TannhauserA2
Some devotees to kiss the sacred feetF2
The brassy blare of trumpets smote the airA2
Shrill pipes and horns with swelling clamor cameF3
And through the doorway's wide stretched tapestriesC
Passed the Pope's trumpeters and mace bearersC
His vergers bearing slender silver wandsC
Then mitred bishops red clad cardinalsC
The stalwart Papal Guard with halberds raisedF2
And then with white head crowned with gold ingemmedF2
The vicar of the lowly GalileanN2
Holding his pastoral rod of smooth hewn woodF2
With censer swung before and peacock fansC
Waved constantly by pages either sideF2
Attended thus they bore him to his throneN2
And priests and laymen fell upon their kneesC
Then after pause of brief and silent prayerA2
The pilgrims singly through the hall defiledF2
To kiss the borders of the papal skirtsC
Smiting their foreheads on the paven stoneN2
Some silent abject some accusing themG3
Of venial sins in accents of remorseC
Craving his grace and passing pardoned forthR2
Sir Tannhauser came last no need for himW2
To cry Peccavi and crook suppliant kneesC
His gray head rather crushed than bowed his faceC
Livid and wasted his deep thoughtful eyesC
His tall gaunt form in those unseemly weedsC
Spake more than eloquence His hollow voiceC
Brake silence saying I am TannhauserA2
For seven years I lived apart from menN2
Within the Venusberg A horror seizedF2
The assembled folk some turbulently roseC
Some clamored From the presence cast him forthR2
But the knight never ceased his steady gazeC
Upon the Pope At last I have not spokenN2
To be condemned he said by such as theseC
Thou spiritual Father answer meC
Look thou upon me with the eyes of ChristF2
Can I through expiation gain my shriftF2
And work mine own redemption Insolent manN2
Thundered the outraged Pope is this the toneN2
Wherewith thou dost parade thy loathsome sinN2
Down on thy knees and wallow on the earthC2
Nay rather go there is no ray of hopeY
No gleam through cycles of eternityC
For the redemption of a soul like thineN2
Yea sooner shall my pastoral rod branch forthR2
In leaf and blossom and green shoots of springY2
Than Christ will pardon thee And as he spokeY2
He struck the rod upon the floor with forceC
That gave it entrance 'twixt two loosened tilesC
So that it stood fast rooted and aloneN2
The knight saw naught he only heard his judgeN4
Ring forth his curses and the court cry outF2
Anathema and loud and blent therewithR2
Derisive laughter in the very hallQ2
And a wild voice that thrilled through flesh and heartF2
ONCE BEING MINE THOU ART FOREVER MINEN2
Half mad he clasped both hands upon his browN2
Amidst the storm of voices till they diedF2
And all was silence save the reckless songY2
Of a young bird upon a twig withoutF2
Then a defiant ghastly face he raisedF2
And shrieked 'T is false I am no longer thineN2
And through the windows open to the parkY2
Rushed forth beyond the sight and sound of menN2
-
By church nor palace paused he till he passedF2
All squares and streets and crossed the bridge of stoneN2
And stood alone amidst the broad expanseC
Of the Campagna twinkling in the heatF2
He knelt upon a knoll of turf and snappedF2
The cord that held the cross about his neckY2
And far from him the leaden burden flungY2
O God I thank Thee that my faith in TheeR2
Subsists at last through all discouragementsC
Between us must no type nor symbol standF2
No mediator were he more divineN2
Than the incarnate Christ All forms all priestsC
I part aside and hold communion freeR2
Beneath the empty sky of noon with naughtF2
Between my nothingness and thy high heavensC
Spirit with spirit O have mercy GodF2
Cleanse me from lust and bitterness and prideF2
Have mercy in accordance with my faithR2
Long time he lay upon the scorching grassC
With his face buried in the tangled weedsC
Ah who can tell the struggles of his soulQ2
Against its demons in that sacred hourA2
The solitude the anguish the remorseC
When shadows long and thin lay on the groundF2
Shivering with fever helpless he aroseC
But with a face divine ineffableQ2
Such as we dream the face of IsraelQ2
When the Lord's wrestling angel at gray dawnN2
Blessed him and disappearedF2
Upon the marshO4
All night he wandered striving to emergeI4
From the wild pathless plain now limitlessC
And colorless beneath the risen moonN2
Outstretching like a sea with landmarks noneN2
Save broken aqueducts and parapetsC
And ruined columns glinting 'neath the moonN2
His dress was dank and clinging with the dewF2
A thousand insects fluttered o'er his headF2
With buzz and drone unseen cicadas chirpedF2
Among the long rank grass and far and nearA2
The fire flies flickered through the summer airA2
Vague thoughts and gleams prophetic filled his brainN2
Ah fool he mused to look for help from menN2
Had they the will to aid they lack the powerA2
In mine own flesh and soul the sin had birthR2
Through mine own anguish it must be atonedF2
Our saviours are not saints and ministersC
But tear strung women children soft of heartF2
Or fellow sufferers who by some chance wordF2
Some glance of comfort save us from despairA2
These I have found thank heaven to strengthen trustF2
In mine own kind when all the world grew darkY2
Make me not proud in spirit O my GodF2
Yea in thy sight I am one mass of sinN2
One black and foul corruption yet I knowY2
My frailty is exceeded by thy loveZ2
Neither is this the slender straw of hopeY
Whereto I drowning cling but firm beliefZ2
That fills my inmost soul with vast contentF2
As surely as the hollow faiths of oldF2
Shriveled to dust before one ray of TruthR2
So will these modern temples pass awayF2
Piled upon rotten doctrines baseless formsC
And man will look in his own breast for helpH4
Yea search for comfort his own inward reinsC
Revere himself and find the God withinN2
Patience and patience Through the sleepless nightF2
He held such thoughts at times before his eyesC
Flashed glimpses of the Church that was to beR2
Sublimely simple in the light sereneN2
Of future ages then the vision changedF2
To the Pope's hall thronged with high priests who hurledF2
Their curses on him Staggering he awokeY2
Unto the truth and found himself aloneN2
Beneath the awful stars When dawn's first chillQ2
Crept though the shivering grass and heavy leavesC
Giddy and overcome he fell and sleptF2
Upon the dripping weeds nor dreamed nor stirredF2
Until the wide plain basked in noon's broad lightF2
He dragged his weary frame some paces moreA2
Unto a solitary herdsman's hutF2
Which in the vagueness of the moonlit nightF2
Was touched with lines of beauty till it grewF2
Fair as the ruined works of ancient artF2
Now squat and hideous with its wattled roofZ2
Decaying timbers and loose door wide opedF2
Half fallen from the hinge A drowsy manN2
Bearded and burnt in shepherd habit layF2
Stretched on the floor slow munching half asleepJ3
His frugal fare for thus at blaze of noonN2
The shepherds sought a shelter from the sunN2
Leaving their vigilant dogs beside their flockY2
The knight craved drink and bread and with respectF2
For pilgrim weeds the Roman herdsman stirredF2
His lazy length and shared with him his mealQ2
Refreshed and calm Sir Tannhauser passed forthR2
Yearning with morbid fancy once againN2
To see the kind face of the minstrel boyR3
He met beside the well At set of sunN2
He reached the place the reaping folk were goneN2
The day's toil over yet he took his seatF2
A milking girl with laden buckets fullQ2
Came slowly from the pasture paused and drankY2
From a near cottage ran a ragged boyR3
And filled his wooden pail and to his homeK
Returned across the fields A herdsman cameF3
And drank and gave his dog to drink and passedF2
Greeting the holy man who sat there stillQ2
Awaiting But his feeble pulse beat highY2
When he descried at last a youthful formJ4
Crossing the field a pitcher on his headF2
Advancing towards the well Yea this was heR2
The same grave eyes and open girlish faceC
But he saw not amidst the landscape brownN2
The knight's brown figure who to win his earA2
Asked the lad's name My name is SalvatorA2
To serve you sir he carelessly repliedF2
With eyes and hands intent upon his jarA2
Brimming and bubbling Then he cast one glanceC
Upon his questioner and left the wellQ2
Crying with keen and sudden sympathyR2
Good Father pardon me I knew you notF2
Ah you have travelled overmuch your feetF2
Are grimed with mud and wet your face is changedF2
Your hands are dry with fever But the knightF2
Nay as I look on thee I think the LordF2
Wills not that I should suffer any moreA2
Then you have suffered much sighed SalvatorA2
With wondering pity You must come with meR2
My father knows of you I told him allQ2
A knight and minstrel who cast by his lyreA2
His health and fame to give himself to GodF2
Yours is a life indeed to be desiredF2
If you will lie with us this night our homeK
Will verily be blessed By kindness crushedF2
Wandering in sense and words the broken knightF2
Resisted naught and let himself be ledF2
To the boy's home The outcast and accursedF2
Was welcomed now by kindly human handsC
Once more his blighted spirit was revivedF2
By contact with refreshing innocenceC
There when the morning broke upon the worldF2
The humble hosts no longer knew their guestF2
His fleshly weeds of sin forever doffedF2
Tannhauser lay and smiled for in the nightF2
The angel came who brings eternal peaceC
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Far into Wartburg through all ItalyR2
In every town the Pope sent messengersC
Riding in furious haste among them oneN2
Who bore a branch of dry wood burst in bloomB3
The pastoral rod had borne green shoots of springY2
And leaf and blossom God is mercifulQ2

Emma Lazarus



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