On the mountain stands the shieling,
Where the good old miner dwells;
Green firs rustle, and the moonbeams
Gild the mountain heights and fells.
In the shieling stands an armchair,
Carven quaint and cunningly;
Happy he who rests within it,
And that happy guest am I.
On the footstool sits the lassie,
Leans upon my lap her head;
Eyes of blue, twin stars in heaven,
Mouth as any rosebud red.
And the blue eyes gaze upon me,
Limpid, large as midnight skies;
And the lily finger archly
On the opening rosebud lies.
"No, the mother cannot see us –
At her wheel she spins away;
Father hears not-he is singing
To the zitter that old lay."
So the little maiden whispers,
Softly, that none else may hear,
Whispers her profoundest secrets
Unmistrusting in my ear.
Now that auntie's dead, we cannot
Go again to Goslar, where
People flock to see the shooting:
'Tis as merry as a fair.
And up here it's lonely, lonely,
On the mountain bleak and drear;
For the snow lies deep in winter;
We are buried half the year.
And, you know, I'm such a coward,
Frightened like a very child
At the wicked mountain spirits,
Goblins who by night run wild."
Suddenly the sweet voice ceases;
Startled with a strange surprise
At her own words straight the maiden
Covers with both hands her eyes.
Louder outdoors moans the fir-tree,
And the wheel goes whirring round;
Snatches of the song come wafted
With the zitter's fitful sound.
Fear not, pretty one, nor tremble
At the evil spirits' might;
Angels, dearest child, are keeping
Watch around thee day and night.