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THERE stands at Boppard upon the Rhine,

A crumbling convent, old and brown;

Gray its arches, and seared its shrine;

Like a fossiled spectre of olden time

It stands as a guard to the ruined town.

The Rhine sweeps by, as it swept of yore,

And lights the tower at early dawn;

But the vesper chime is heard no more,

And the gray nuns' evening chant is o'er, -

For the glory of Boppard now is gone.

But the peasant oft breathes a hasty prayer,

Passing its portals at dead of night;

For a sweet, weird music fills the air,

And a vision is seen of a maiden fair,

Robed in an armor of dazzling white.

Long years ago, as the legends say,

Konrad of Boppard, of noble line,

Ruled the country with regal sway,

And all around were proud to obey

Knight Bayer of Boppard on the Rhine.

A plighted and worthy suitor, he

Was conquered at last by reckless pride;

Then, longing to be forever free,

He swore, in a moment of revelry,

To reject his timid and waiting bride.

But lo ! as he rode his homeward course,

A strange knight came, in armor white,

And, barring his path with warrior's force,

He shouted defiance, - reined in his horse, -

"For my sister's honor stand and fight !"

A furious charge, - one broken spear, -

A sudden clutch at the horse's mane, -

Deep drops of blood on the armor clear,

Crimson as sunset clouds, appear;

And the victor bends o'er the prostrate slain.

The trembling peasant tells the tale,

Crossing his breast in holy dread:

He found his bride in that coat of mail;

Called her name, - but to no avail;

Turned in despair from the virgin dead.

He built this convent with pious zest,

Rich and precious and fair its shrine;

Sought in the East an hero's rest;

Fell at Ptolomais pierced in the breast, -

Knight Bayer of Boppard on the Rhine.

The Rhine flows on, as it did of yore;

The boatman fancies a chant is heard

At vesper hour roll from the shore,

And die in the clouds of nevermore,

From the ruined convent Marienburg.

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