The Lions Bride

Adorned with myrtle and a bridal gown,
the watchman's daughter, the rosy maid,
Steps into the cage of the lion;
He lies down at his mistress's feet, and nestles there.

The powerful creature, wild and unbridled,
gazes devotedly and intelligently up at his mistress;
the young woman, gentle and lovely,
caresses him tenderly and weeps all the while:

"We were, in days that are no longer,
such true playmates, as a child will be with another child,
and we loved and liked each other well;
the days of childhood lie so distant!

Powerfully, before we could believe it,
you were shaking your head with a kingly mane;
I grew up as well, as you can see: I am -
I am no longer a child with a child's mind.

O were I a child again, and could stay with you,
my strong, faithful, honest animal!
But I must follow my destiny
to go to foreign lands with a foreign husband.

He thought I was fair
and I was wooed; it is now in the past:
a wreath in my hair, my good friend,
and so many tears that I can not see.

Do you understand me? You look at me so grimly.
I am already bound, so be calm;
Look, I see him coming, he whom I must follow;
I'll give you then, my friend, one final kiss."

And as the lips of the maiden touched him,
one could feel the cage trembling,
and as he looked out at the young man outside the cage,
the anxious bride was seized by horror.

He placed himself at the door of the cage, guarding it;
he waved his tail, and roared with power.
She asked pleadingly, threatened and then demanded
to be let out, but he defended the exit with fury.

Outside there arose a confused outcry.
The young man called: bring me a gun;
I'll shoot him down, I'll take care of him.
The beast roared, foaming with rage.

The wretched girl risked moving near the door,
and, transformed, he fell on his mistress:
the lovely form, a grisly crime,
lay torn and bleeding, disfigured in the dust.

And having spilled this beloved blood,
he lay down beside the corpse with a gloomy air;
he lay thus, sunk in mourning and pain
until the fatal bullet pierced his heart.

The Lions Bride in Swedish

Die L÷wenbraut in German


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