The Heiduck´s Song, from Alfred M. Williams, `Studies in Folk-Song and Popular Poetry´

I tell the forest the wonders I see in my dreams

And the forest loves to hear the tale of my dreaming

More than the song of birds,

More than the murmur of leaves.

The huts had well-nigh beguiled me to stay, for the windows

Stood wide, and the smiles of the maidens shone out from within,

But the Heiduck am I—and I love the far-stretching roads

And the plain, and my galloping steed.

My mother gave birth to me, sure, on a sunshiny morning,

And had I but never known love, ah, how happy were I!

I sing at the hour when the moon climbs above the horizon;

The tales that the aged folk know, I can tell, every one,

And I make the young dance, when I sing, to the tune of my ballads.

For I a strange woman have loved;

She comes every night to me now, and she kisses my forehead,

And asks if I love her still.

She carries a knife in her girdle—her eyes have a glitter

Like daggers—her hand is as white as the veil of a bride;

But her voice I have never heard—yet know I full surely,

She asks if I love her still.

In token thereof I have given her up my girdle,

My cap with its feathers gay,

My mantle with broid’ry brave, and my glitt’ring daggers.

And my songs, I have given them all to her, one by one,

Yet the gayest bring no smile to her face, and the saddest

Are powerless to make her sad.

Then hence she goes, by the small plank over the river

The plank that sways to her step.

The willows bow down their heads, and bend as she passes…

And morning cometh, and findeth me poor and trembling,

Since she hath taken my all from me, even my songs.

Yet is she not content, nor will cease from asking,

Whether I love her still.

I tell the forest the wonders I see in my dreams

And the forest loves to hear the tale of my dreaming,

More than the song of birds,

More than the murmur of leaves.

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