Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Feb. 27, 1807 - Mar. 24, 1882


The Luck of Edenhall

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From Uhland.

Of Edenhall, the youthful Lord
Bids sound the festal trumpet's call;
He rises at the banquet board,
And cries, 'mid the drunken revellers all,
Now bring me the Luck of Edenhall!

The butler hears the words with pain,
The house's oldest seneschal
Takes slow from its silken cloth again
The drinking glass of crystal tall;
They call it the Luck of Edenhall.

Then said the lord: This glass to praise,
Fill with red wine from Portugal!

The gray-beard with trembling hand obeys;
A purple light shines over all,
It beams from the Luck of Edenhall.

Then speaks the lord, and waves it light,
This glass of flashing crystal tall
Gave to my sires the Fountain-Sprite;
She wrote in it;If this glass doth fall,
Farewell then, O Luck of Edenhall!

'Twas right a goblet the Fate should be
Of the joyous race of Edenhall!
Deep draughts drink we right willingly;
And willingly ring, with merry call,
Kling! klang! to the Luck of Edenhall!

First rings it deep, and full, and mild,
Like to the sound of a nightingale;
Then like the roar of a torrent wild;
Then mutters at last like the thunder's fall,
The glorious Luck of Edenhall.

For its keeper takes a race of might,
The fragile goblet of crystal tall;
It has lasted longer than is right;
King! klang! with a harder blow than all
Will I try the Luck of Edenhall!

As the goblet ringing flies apart,
Suddenly cracks the vaulted hall;
And through the rift, the wild flames start;
The guests in dust are scattered all,
With the breaking Luck of Edenhall!

In storms the foe, with fire and sword;
He in the night had scaled the wall,
Slain by the sword lies the youthful lord,
But holds in his hand the crystal tall,
The shattered Luck of Edenhall.

On the morrow the butler gropes alone,
The gray-beard in the desert-hall,
He seeks his lord's burnt skeleton,
He seeks in the dismal ruin's fall
The shards of the Luck of Edenhall.

The stone wall, saith he, doth fall aside,
Down must the stately columns fall;
Glass is this earth's Luck and Pride;
In atoms shall fall this earthly ball
One day like the Luck of Edenhall!

Notes to the poem:

The tradition upon which this ballad is founded, and the "shards of the Luck of Edenhall," still exists in England. The goblet is in the possession of Sir Christopher Musgrave, Bart., of Eden Hall, Cumberland; and is not so entirely shattered as the ballad leaves it.


Longfellow's Poetical Works
Copyright 1893
Henry Frowde, London