Friedrich Ruckert

The ancient Barbarossa
By magic spell is bound, —
Old Frederic the Kaiser,
In castle underground.

The Kaiser hath not perished,
He sleeps an iron sleep;
For, in the castle hidden,
He 's sunk in slumber deep.

With him the chiefest treasures
Of empire hath he ta'en,
Wherewith, in fitting season,
He shall appear again.

The Kaiser he is sitting
Upon an ivory throne;
Of marble is the table
His head he resteth on.

His beard it is not flaxen.
Like living fire it shines,
And groweth through the table
Whereon his chin reclines.

As in a dream he noddeth,
Then wakes he, heavy-eyed,
And calls, with lifted finger,
A stripling to his side.

"Dwarf, get thee to the gateway,
And tidings bring, if still
Their course the ancient ravens
Are wheeling round the hill.

"For if the ancient ravens
Are flying still around,
A hundred years to slumber
By magic spell I'm bound."