William Cullen Bryant

(November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878 / Boston)

A Northern Legend


FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND.

There sits a lovely maiden,
The ocean murmuring nigh;
She throws the hook, and watches;
The fishes pass it by.

A ring, with a red jewel,
Is sparkling on her hand;
Upon the hook she binds it,
And flings it from the land.

Uprises from the water
A hand like ivory fair.
What gleams upon its finger?
The golden ring is there.

Uprises from the bottom
A young and handsome knight;
In golden scales he rises,
That glitter in the light.

The maid is pale with terror--
'Nay, Knight of Ocean, nay,
It was not thee I wanted;
Let go the ring, I pray.'

'Ah, maiden, not to fishes
The bait of gold is thrown;
The ring shall never leave me,
And thou must be my own.'

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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