Say! how canst thou mourn? How canst thou rejoice? Thou art but metal dull! And yet all our sorrowings, And all our rejoicings, Thou dost feel them all!
God hath wonders many, Which we cannot fathom, Placed within thy form! When the heart is sinking, Thou alone canst raise it, Trembling in the storm!
THE CASTLE BY THE SEA
BY JOHANN LUDWIG UHLAND
"Hast thou seen that lordly castle, That Castle by the Sea? Golden and red above it The clouds float gorgeously.
"And fain it would stoop downward To the mirrored wave below; And fain it would soar upward In the evening's crimson glow."
"Well have I seen that castle, That Castle by the Sea, And the moon above it standing, And the mist rise solemnly."
"The winds and the waves of ocean, Had they a merry chime? Didst thou hear, from those lofty chambers, The harp and the minstrel's rhyme?"
"The winds and the waves of ocean, They rested quietly, But I heard on the gale a sound of wail, And tears came to mine eye."
"And sawest thou on the turrets The King and his royal bride? And the wave of their crimson mantles? And the golden crown of pride?
"Led they not forth, in rapture, A beauteous maiden there? Resplendent as the morning sun, Beaming with golden hair?"
"Well saw I the ancient parents, Without the crown of pride; They were moving slow, in weeds of woe, No maiden was by their side!"
THE BLACK KNIGHT
BY JOHANN LUDWIG UHLAND
'T was Pentecost, the Feast of Gladness, When woods and fields put off all sadness. Thus began the King and spake: "So from the halls Of ancient hofburg's walls, A luxuriant Spring shall break."
Drums and trumpets echo loudly, Wave the crimson banners proudly, From balcony the King looked on; In the play of spears, Fell all the cavaliers, Before the monarch's stalwart son.
To the barrier of the fight Rode at last a sable Knight. "Sir Knight! your name and scutcheon, say!" "Should I speak it here, Ye would stand aghast with fear; I am a Prince of mighty sway!"
When he rode into the lists, The arch of heaven grew black with mists, And the castle 'gan to rock; At the first blow, Fell the youth from saddle-bow, Hardly rises from the shock.
Pipe and viol call the dances, Torch-light through the high halls glances; Waves a mighty shadow in; With manner bland Doth ask the maiden's hand, Doth with her the dance begin.
Danced in sable iron sark, Danced a measure weird and dark, Coldly clasped her limbs around; From breast and hair Down fall from her the fair Flowerets, faded, to the ground.
To the sumptuous banquet came Every Knight and every Dame, 'Twixt son and daughter all distraught, With mournful mind The ancient King reclined, Gazed at them in silent thought.
Pale the children both did look, But the guest a beaker took: "Golden wine will make you whole!" The children drank, Gave many a courteous thank: "O, that draught was very cool!"
Each the father's breast embraces, Son and daughter; and their faces Colorless grow utterly; Whichever way Looks the fear-struck father gray, He beholds his children die.
"Woe! the blessed children both Takest thou in the joy of youth; Take me, too, the joyless father!" Spake the grim Guest, From his hollow, cavernous breast; "Roses in the spring I gather!"
SONG OF THE SILENT LAND
BY JOHAN GAUDENZ VON SALISSEEWIS
Into the Silent Land! Ah! who shall lead us thither? Clouds in the evening sky more darkly gather, And shattered wrecks lie thicker on the strand. Who leads us with a gentle hand Thither, O thither, Into the Silent Land?
Into the Silent Land! To you, ye boundless regions Of all perfection! Tender morning-visions Of beauteous souls! The Future's pledge and band! Who in Life's battle firm doth stand, Shall bear Hope's tender blossoms Into the Silent Land!
O Land! O Land! For all the broken-hearted The mildest herald by our fate allotted, Beckons, and with inverted torch doth stand To lead us with a gentle hand To the land of the great Departed, Into the Silent Land!
THE LUCK OF EDENHALL
BY JOHAN LUDWIG 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 graybeard 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!
"'T was 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 song 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 graybeard 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!"
THE TWO LOCKS OF HAIR
BY GUSTAV PFIZER
A youth, light-hearted and content, I wander through the world Here, Arab-like, is pitched my tent And straight again is furled.
Yet oft I dream, that once a wife Close in my heart was locked, And in the sweet repose of life A blessed child I rocked.
I wake! Away that dream,—away! Too long did it remain! So long, that both by night and day It ever comes again.
The end lies ever in my thought; To a grave so cold and deep The mother beautiful was brought; Then dropt the child asleep.
But now the dream is wholly o'er, I bathe mine eyes and see; And wander through the world once more, A youth so light and free.
Two locks—and they are wondrous fair— Left me that vision mild; The brown is from the mother's hair, The blond is from the child.
And when I see that lock of gold, Pale grows the evening-red; And when the dark lock I behold, I wish that I were dead.
THE HEMLOCK TREE.
O hemlock tree! O hemlock tree! how faithful are thy branches! Green not alone in summer time, But in the winter's frost and rime! O hemlock tree! O hemlock tree! how faithful are thy branches!
O maiden fair! O maiden fair! how faithless is thy bosom! To love me in prosperity, And leave me in adversity! O maiden fair! O maiden fair! how faithless is thy bosom!
The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak'st for thine example! So long as summer laughs she sings, But in the autumn spreads her wings. The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak'st for thine example!
The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood! It flows so long as falls the rain, In drought its springs soon dry again. The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood!
ANNIE OF THARAW
BY SIMON DACH
Annie of Tharaw, my true love of old, She is my life, and my goods, and my gold.
Annie of Tharaw, her heart once again To me has surrendered in joy and in pain.
Annie of Tharaw, my riches, my good, Thou, O my soul, my flesh, and my blood!
Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow, We will stand by each other, however it blow.
Oppression, and sickness, and sorrow, and pain Shall be to our true love as links to the chain.
As the palm-tree standeth so straight and so tall, The more the hail beats, and the more the rains fall,—
So love in our hearts shall grow mighty and strong, Through crosses, through sorrows, through manifold wrong.
Shouldst thou be torn from me to wander alone In a desolate land where the sun is scarce known,—
Through forests I'll follow, and where the sea flows, Through ice, and through iron, through armies of foes,
Annie of Tharaw, my light and my sun, The threads of our two lives are woven in one.
Whate'er I have bidden thee thou hast obeyed, Whatever forbidden thou hast not gainsaid.
How in the turmoil of life can love stand, Where there is not one heart, and one mouth, and one hand?
Some seek for dissension, and trouble, and strife; Like a dog and a cat live such man and wife.
Annie of Tharaw, such is not our love; Thou art my lambkin, my chick, and my dove.
Whate'er my desire is, in thine may be seen; I am king of the household, and thou art its queen.
It is this, O my Annie, my heart's sweetest rest, That makes of us twain but one soul in one breast.
This turns to a heaven the hut where we dwell; While wrangling soon changes a home to a hell.
THE STATUE OVER THE CATHEDRAL DOOR
BY JULIUS MOSEN
Forms of saints and kings are standing The cathedral door above; Yet I saw but one among them Who hath soothed my soul with love.
In his mantle,—wound about him, As their robes the sowers wind,— Bore he swallows and their fledglings, Flowers and weeds of every kind.
And so stands he calm and childlike, High in wind and tempest wild; O, were I like him exalted, I would be like him, a child!
And my songs,—green leaves and blossoms,— To the doors of heaven would hear, Calling even in storm and tempest, Round me still these birds of air.
THE LEGEND OF THE CROSSBILL
BY JULIUS MOSEN
On the cross the dying Saviour Heavenward lifts his eyelids calm, Feels, but scarcely feels, a trembling In his pierced and bleeding palm.
And by all the world forsaken, Sees he how with zealous care At the ruthless nail of iron A little bird is striving there.
Stained with blood and never tiring, With its beak it doth not cease, From the cross 't would free the Saviour, Its Creator's Son release.
And the Saviour speaks in mildness: "Blest be thou of all the good! Bear, as token of this moment, Marks of blood and holy rood!"
And that bird is called the crossbill; Covered all with blood so clear, In the groves of pine it singeth Songs, like legends, strange to hear.
THE SEA HATH ITS PEARLS
BY HEINRICH HEINE
The sea hath its pearls, The heaven hath its stars; But my heart, my heart, My heart hath its love.
Great are the sea and the heaven; Yet greater is my heart, And fairer than pearls and stars Flashes and beams my love.
Thou little, youthful maiden, Come unto my great heart; My heart, and the sea, and the heaven Are melting away with love!
FROM THE SINNGEDICHTE OF FRIEDRICH VON LOGAU
Whereunto is money good? Who has it not wants hardihood, Who has it has much trouble and care, Who once has had it has despair.
THE BEST MEDICINES
Joy and Temperance and Repose Slam the door on the doctor's nose.
Man-like is it to fall into sin, Fiend-like is it to dwell therein, Christ-like is it for sin to grieve, God-like is it all sin to leave.
POVERTY AND BLINDNESS
A blind man is a poor man, and blind a poor man is; For the former seeth no man, and the latter no man sees.
LAW OF LIFE
Live I, so live I, To my Lord heartily, To my Prince faithfully, To my Neighbor honestly. Die I, so die I.
Lutheran, Popish, Calvinistic, all these creeds and doctrines three Extant are; but still the doubt is, where Christianity may be.
THE RESTLESS HEART
A millstone and the human heart are driven ever round; If they have nothing else to grind, they must themselves be ground.
Whilom Love was like a tire, and warmth and comfort it bespoke; But, alas! it now is quenched, and only bites us, like the smoke.
ART AND TACT
Intelligence and courtesy not always are combined; Often in a wooden house a golden room we find.
Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.
When by night the frogs are croaking, kindle but a torch's fire, Ha! how soon they all are silent! Thus Truth silences the liar.
If perhaps these rhymes of mine should sound not well in strangers' ears, They have only to bethink them that it happens so with theirs; For so long as words, like mortals, call a fatherland their own, They will be most highly valued where they are best and longest known.
Who love would seek, Let him love evermore And seldom speak; For in love's domain Silence must reign; Or it brings the heart Smart And pain.
BLESSED ARE THE DEAD
BY SIMON DACH
Oh, how blest are ye whose toils are ended! Who, through death, have unto God ascended! Ye have arisen From the cares which keep us still in prison.
We are still as in a dungeon living, Still oppressed with sorrow and misgiving; Our undertakings Are but toils, and troubles, and heart-breakings.
Ye meanwhile, are in your chambers sleeping, Quiet, and set free from all our weeping; No cross nor trial Hinders your enjoyments with denial.
Christ has wiped away your tears for ever; Ye have that for which we still endeavor. To you are chanted Songs which yet no mortal ear have haunted.
Ah! who would not, then, depart with gladness, To inherit heaven for earthly sadness? Who here would languish Longer in bewailing and in anguish?
Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us! Lead us forth, and cast this world behind us! With Thee, the Anointed, Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.
BY JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
Thou that from the heavens art, Every pain and sorrow stillest, And the doubly wretched heart Doubly with refreshment fillest, I am weary with contending! Why this rapture and unrest? Peace descending Come, ah, come into my breast!
O'er all the hill-tops Is quiet now, In all the tree-tops Hearest thou Hardly a breath; The birds are asleep in the trees: Wait; soon like these Thou too shalt rest.
BY AUGUST VON PLATEN
How I started up in the night, in the night, Drawn on without rest or reprieval! The streets, with their watchmen, were lost to my sight, As I wandered so light In the night, in the night, Through the gate with the arch mediaeval.
The mill-brook rushed from the rocky height, I leaned o'er the bridge in my yearning; Deep under me watched I the waves in their flight, As they glided so light In the night, in the night, Yet backward not one was returning.
O'erhead were revolving, so countless and bright, The stars in melodious existence; And with them the moon, more serenely bedight;— They sparkled so light In the night, in the night, Through the magical, measureless distance.
And upward I gazed in the night, in the night, And again on the waves in their fleeting; Ah woe! thou hast wasted thy days in delight, Now silence thou light, In the night, in the night, The remorse in thy heart that is beating.
Something the heart must have to cherish, Must love and joy and sorrow learn, Something with passion clasp or perish, And in itself to ashes burn.
So to this child my heart is clinging, And its frank eyes, with look intense, Me from a world of sin are bringing Back to a world of innocence.
Disdain must thou endure forever; Strong may thy heart in danger be! Thou shalt not fail! but ah, be never False as thy father was to me.
Never will I forsake thee, faithless, And thou thy mother ne'er forsake, Until her lips are white and breathless, Until in death her eyes shall break.
BY SIEGFRIED AUGUST MAHLMANN
Allah gives light in darkness, Allah gives rest in pain, Cheeks that are white with weeping Allah paints red again.
The flowers and the blossoms wither, Years vanish with flying fleet; But my heart will live on forever, That here in sadness beat.
Gladly to Allah's dwelling Yonder would I take flight; There will the darkness vanish, There will my eyes have sight.
FROM THE ANGLO-SAXON
For thee was a house built Ere thou wast born, For thee was a mould meant Ere thou of mother camest. But it is not made ready, Nor its depth measured, Nor is it seen How long it shall be. Now I bring thee Where thou shalt be; Now I shall measure thee, And the mould afterwards.
Thy house is not Highly timbered, It is unhigh and low; When thou art therein, The heel-ways are low, The side-ways unhigh. The roof is built Thy breast full nigh, So thou shalt in mould Dwell full cold, Dimly and dark.
Doorless is that house, And dark it is within; There thou art fast detained And Death hath the key. Loathsome is that earth-house, And grim within to dwell. There thou shalt dwell, And worms shall divide thee. Thus thou art laid,
And leavest thy friends Thou hast no friend, Who will come to thee, Who will ever see How that house pleaseth thee; Who will ever open The door for thee, And descend after thee; For soon thou art loathsome And hateful to see.
BEOWULF'S EXPEDITION TO HEORT.
Thus then, much care-worn, The son of Healfden Sorrowed evermore, Nor might the prudent hero His woes avert. The war was too hard, Too loath and longsome, That on the people came, Dire wrath and grim, Of night-woes the worst. This from home heard Higelac's Thane, Good among the Goths, Grendel's deeds. He was of mankind In might the strongest, At that day Of this life, Noble and stalwart. He bade him a sea-ship, A goodly one, prepare. Quoth he, the war-king, Over the swan's road, Seek he would The mighty monarch, Since he wanted men. For him that journey His prudent fellows Straight made ready, Those that loved him. They excited their souls, The omen they beheld. Had the good-man Of the Gothic people Champions chosen, Of those that keenest He might find, Some fifteen men. The sea-wood sought he. The warrior showed, Sea-crafty man! The land-marks, And first went forth. The ship was on the waves, Boat under the cliffs. The barons ready To the prow mounted. The streams they whirled The sea against the sands. The chieftains bore On the naked breast Bright ornaments, War-gear, Goth-like. The men shoved off, Men on their willing way, The bounden wood. Then went over the sea-waves, Hurried by the wind, The ship with foamy neck, Most like a sea-fowl, Till about one hour Of the second day The curved prow Had passed onward So that the sailors The land saw, The shore-cliffs shining, Mountains steep, And broad sea-noses. Then was the sea-sailing Of the Earl at an end. Then up speedily The Weather people On the land went, The sea-bark moored, Their mail-sarks shook, Their war-weeds. God thanked they, That to them the sea-journey Easy had been. Then from the wall beheld The warden of the Scyldings, He who the sea-cliffs Had in his keeping, Bear o'er the balks The bright shields, The war-weapons speedily. Him the doubt disturbed In his mind's thought, What these men might be. Went then to the shore, On his steed riding, The Thane of Hrothgar. Before the host he shook His warden's-staff in hand, In measured words demanded: "What men are ye War-gear wearing, Host in harness, Who thus the brown keel Over the water-street Leading come Hither over the sea? I these boundaries As shore-warden hold, That in the Land of the Danes Nothing loathsome With a ship-crew Scathe us might. . . . Ne'er saw I mightier Earl upon earth Than is your own, Hero in harness. Not seldom this warrior Is in weapons distinguished; Never his beauty belies him, His peerless countenance! Now would I fain Your origin know, Ere ye forth As false spies Into the Land of the Danes Farther fare. Now, ye dwellers afar-off! Ye sailors of the sea! Listen to my One-fold thought. Quickest is best To make known Whence your coming may be."
THE SOUL'S COMPLAINT AGAINST THE BODY
FROM THE ANGLO-SAXON
Much it behoveth Each one of mortals, That he his soul's journey In himself ponder, How deep it may be. When Death cometh, The bonds he breaketh By which were united The soul and the body.
Long it is thenceforth Ere the soul taketh From God himself Its woe or its weal; As in the world erst, Even in its earth-vessel, It wrought before.
The soul shall come Wailing with loud voice, After a sennight, The soul, to find The body That it erst dwelt in;— Three hundred winters, Unless ere that worketh The Eternal Lord, The Almighty God, The end of the world.
Crieth then, so care-worn, With cold utterance, And speaketh grimly, The ghost to the dust: "Dry dust! thou dreary one! How little didst thou labor for me! In the foulness of earth Thou all wearest away Like to the loam! Little didst thou think How thy soul's journey Would be thereafter, When from the body It should be led forth."
FROM THE FRENCH
FROM THE PARADISE OF LOVE
Hark! hark! Pretty lark! Little heedest thou my pain! But if to these longing arms Pitying Love would yield the charms Of the fair With smiling air, Blithe would beat my heart again.
Hark! hark! Pretty lark! Little heedest thou my pain! Love may force me still to bear, While he lists, consuming care; But in anguish Though I languish, Faithful shall my heart remain.
Hark! hark! Pretty lark! Little heedest thou my pain! Then cease, Love, to torment me so; But rather than all thoughts forego Of the fair With flaxen hair, Give me back her frowns again.
Hark! hark! Pretty lark! Little heedest thou my pain!
And whither goest thou, gentle sigh, Breathed so softly in my ear? Say, dost thou bear his fate severe To Love's poor martyr doomed to die? Come, tell me quickly,—do not lie; What secret message bring'st thou here? And whither goest thou, gentle sigh, Breathed so softly in my ear? May heaven conduct thee to thy will And safely speed thee on thy way; This only I would humbly pray,— Pierce deep,—but oh! forbear to kill. And whither goest thou, gentle sigh, Breathed so softly in my ear?
THE RETURN OF SPRING
BY CHARLES D'ORLEANS
Now Time throws off his cloak again Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain, And clothes him in the embroidery Of glittering sun and clear blue sky. With beast and bird the forest rings, Each in his jargon cries or sings; And Time throws off his cloak again. Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain.
River, and fount, and tinkling brook Wear in their dainty livery Drops of silver jewelry; In new-made suit they merry look; And Time throws off his cloak again Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain.
BY CHARLES D'ORLEANS
Gentle Spring! in sunshine clad, Well dost thou thy power display! For Winter maketh the light heart sad, And thou, thou makest the sad heart gay. He sees thee, and calls to his gloomy train, The sleet, and the snow, and the wind, and the rain; And they shrink away, and they flee in fear, When thy merry step draws near. Winter giveth the fields and the trees, so old, Their beards of icicles and snow; And the rain, it raineth so fast and cold, We must cower over the embers low; And, snugly housed from the wind and weather, Mope like birds that are changing feather. But the storm retires, and the sky grows clear, When thy merry step draws near. Winter maketh the sun in the gloomy sky Wrap him round with a mantle of cloud; But, Heaven be praised, thy step is nigh; Thou tearest away the mournful shroud, And the earth looks bright, and Winter surly, Who has toiled for naught both late and early, Is banished afar by the new-born year, When thy merry step draws near.
THE CHILD ASLEEP
BY CLOTILDE DE SURVILLE
Sweet babe! true portrait of thy father's face, Sleep on the bosom that thy lips have pressed! Sleep, little one; and closely, gently place Thy drowsy eyelid on thy mother's breast. Upon that tender eye, my little friend, Soft sleep shall come, that cometh not to me! I watch to see thee, nourish thee, defend; 'T is sweet to watch for thee, alone for thee! His arms fall down; sleep sits upon his brow; His eye is closed; he sleeps, nor dreams of harm. Wore not his cheek the apple's ruddy glow, Would you not say he slept on Death's cold arm?
Awake, my boy! I tremble with affright! Awake, and chase this fatal thought! Unclose Thine eye but for one moment on the light! Even at the price of thine, give me repose! Sweet error! he but slept, I breathe again; Come, gentle dreams, the hour of sleep beguile! O, when shall he, for whom I sigh in vain, Beside me watch to see thy waking smile?
DEATH OF ARCHBISHOP TURPIN
FROM THE CHANSON DE ROLAND
The Archbishop, whom God loved in high degree, Beheld his wounds all bleeding fresh and free; And then his cheek more ghastly grew and wan, And a faint shudder through his members ran. Upon the battle-field his knee was bent; Brave Roland saw, and to his succor went, Straightway his helmet from his brow unlaced, And tore the shining hauberk from his breast. Then raising in his arms the man of God, Gently he laid him on the verdant sod. "Rest, Sire," he cried,—"for rest thy suffering needs." The priest replied, "Think but of warlike deeds! The field is ours; well may we boast this strife! But death steals on,—there is no hope of life; In paradise, where Almoners live again, There are our couches spread, there shall we rest from pain."
Sore Roland grieved; nor marvel I, alas! That thrice he swooned upon the thick green grass. When he revived, with a loud voice cried he, "O Heavenly Father! Holy Saint Marie! Why lingers death to lay me in my grave! Beloved France! how have the good and brave Been torn from thee, and left thee weak and poor!" Then thoughts of Aude, his lady-love, came o'er His spirit, and he whispered soft and slow, "My gentle friend!—what parting full of woe! Never so true a liegeman shalt thou see;— Whate'er my fate, Christ's benison on thee! Christ, who did save from realms of woe beneath, The Hebrew Prophets from the second death." Then to the Paladins, whom well he knew, He went, and one by one unaided drew To Turpin's side, well skilled in ghostly lore;— No heart had he to smile, but, weeping sore, He blessed them in God's name, with faith that He Would soon vouchsafe to them a glad eternity.
The Archbishop, then, on whom God's benison rest, Exhausted, bowed his head upon his breast;— His mouth was full of dust and clotted gore, And many a wound his swollen visage bore. Slow beats his heart, his panting bosom heaves, Death comes apace,—no hope of cure relieves. Towards heaven he raised his dying hands and prayed That God, who for our sins was mortal made, Born of the Virgin, scorned and crucified, In paradise would place him by His side.
Then Turpin died in service of Charlon, In battle great and eke great orison;— 'Gainst Pagan host alway strong champion; God grant to him His holy benison.
THE BLIND GIRL OF CASTEL CUILLE
BY JACQUES JASMIN
Only the Lowland tongue of Scotland might Rehearse this little tragedy aright; Let me attempt it with an English quill; And take, O Reader, for the deed the will.
At the foot of the mountain height Where is perched Castel Cuille, When the apple, the plum, and the almond tree In the plain below were growing white, This is the song one might perceive On a Wednesday morn of Saint Joseph's Eve:
"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home! Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay, So fair a bride shall pass to-day!"
This old Te Deum, rustic rites attending, Seemed from the clouds descending; When lo! a merry company Of rosy village girls, clean as the eye, Each one with her attendant swain, Came to the cliff, all singing the same strain; Resembling there, so near unto the sky, Rejoicing angels, that kind Heaven has sent For their delight and our encouragement. Together blending, And soon descending The narrow sweep Of the hillside steep, They wind aslant Towards Saint Amant, Through leafy alleys Of verdurous valleys With merry sallies Singing their chant:
"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home! Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay, So fair a bride shall pass to-day!
It is Baptiste, and his affianced maiden, With garlands for the bridal laden!
The sky was blue; without one cloud of gloom, The sun of March was shining brightly, And to the air the freshening wind gave lightly Its breathings of perfume.
When one beholds the dusky hedges blossom, A rustic bridal, oh! how sweet it is! To sounds of joyous melodies, That touch with tenderness the trembling bosom, A band of maidens Gayly frolicking, A band of youngsters Wildly rollicking! Kissing, Caressing, With fingers pressing, Till in the veriest Madness of mirth, as they dance, They retreat and advance, Trying whose laugh shall be loudest and merriest; While the bride, with roguish eyes, Sporting with them, now escapes and cries: "Those who catch me Married verily This year shall be!"
And all pursue with eager haste, And all attain what they pursue, And touch her pretty apron fresh and new, And the linen kirtle round her waist.
Meanwhile, whence comes it that among These youthful maidens fresh and fair, So joyous, with such laughing air, Baptiste stands sighing, with silent tongue? And yet the bride is fair and young! Is it Saint Joseph would say to us all, That love, o'er-hasty, precedeth a fall? O no! for a maiden frail, I trow, Never bore so lofty a brow! What lovers! they give not a single caress! To see them so careless and cold to-day, These are grand people, one would say. What ails Baptiste? what grief doth him oppress?
It is, that half-way up the hill, In yon cottage, by whose walls Stand the cart-house and the stalls, Dwelleth the blind orphan still, Daughter of a veteran old; And you must know, one year ago, That Margaret, the young and tender, Was the village pride and splendor, And Baptiste her lover bold. Love, the deceiver, them ensnared; For them the altar was prepared; But alas! the summer's blight, The dread disease that none can stay, The pestilence that walks by night, Took the young bride's sight away.
All at the father's stern command was changed; Their peace was gone, but not their love estranged. Wearied at home, erelong the lover fled; Returned but three short days ago, The golden chain they round him throw, He is enticed, and onward led To marry Angela, and yet Is thinking ever of Margaret.
Then suddenly a maiden cried, "Anna, Theresa, Mary, Kate! Here comes the cripple Jane!" And by a fountain's side A woman, bent and gray with years, Under the mulberry-trees appears, And all towards her run, as fleet As had they wings upon their feet.
It is that Jane, the cripple Jane, Is a soothsayer, wary and kind. She telleth fortunes, and none complain. She promises one a village swain, Another a happy wedding-day, And the bride a lovely boy straightway. All comes to pass as she avers; She never deceives, she never errs.
But for this once the village seer Wears a countenance severe, And from beneath her eyebrows thin and white Her two eyes flash like cannons bright Aimed at the bridegroom in waistcoat blue, Who, like a statue, stands in view; Changing color as well he might, When the beldame wrinkled and gray Takes the young bride by the hand, And, with the tip of her reedy wand Making the sign of the cross, doth say:— "Thoughtless Angela, beware! Lest, when thou weddest this false bridegroom, Thou diggest for thyself a tomb!" And she was silent; and the maidens fair Saw from each eye escape a swollen tear; But on a little streamlet silver-clear, What are two drops of turbid rain? Saddened a moment, the bridal train Resumed the dance and song again; The bridegroom only was pale with fear;— And down green alleys Of verdurous valleys, With merry sallies, They sang the refrain:—
"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home! Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay, So fair a bride shall pass to-day!"
And by suffering worn and weary, But beautiful as some fair angel yet, Thus lamented Margaret, In her cottage lone and dreary;—
"He has arrived! arrived at last! Yet Jane has named him not these three days past; Arrived! yet keeps aloof so far! And knows that of my night he is the star! Knows that long months I wait alone, benighted, And count the moments since he went away! Come! keep the promise of that happier day, That I may keep the faith to thee I plighted! What joy have I without thee? what delight? Grief wastes my life, and makes it misery; Day for the others ever, but for me Forever night! forever night! When he is gone 't is dark! my soul is sad! I suffer! O my God! come, make me glad. When he is near, no thoughts of day intrude; Day has blue heavens, but Baptiste has blue eyes! Within them shines for me a heaven of love, A heaven all happiness, like that above, No more of grief! no more of lassitude! Earth I forget,—and heaven, and all distresses, When seated by my side my hand he presses; But when alone, remember all! Where is Baptiste? he hears not when I call! A branch of ivy, dying on the ground, I need some bough to twine around! In pity come! be to my suffering kind! True love, they say, in grief doth more abound! What then—when one is blind?
"Who knows? perhaps I am forsaken! Ah! woe is me! then bear me to my grave! O God! what thoughts within me waken! Away! he will return! I do but rave! He will return! I need not fear! He swore it by our Saviour dear; He could not come at his own will; Is weary, or perhaps is ill! Perhaps his heart, in this disguise, Prepares for me some sweet surprise! But some one comes! Though blind, my heart can see! And that deceives me not! 't is he! 't is he!"
And the door ajar is set, And poor, confiding Margaret Rises, with outstretched arms, but sightless eyes; 'T is only Paul, her brother, who thus cries:— "Angela the bride has passed! I saw the wedding guests go by; Tell me, my sister, why were we not asked? For all are there but you and I!"
"Angela married! and not send To tell her secret unto me! O, speak! who may the bridegroom be?" "My sister, 't is Baptiste, thy friend!"
A cry the blind girl gave, but nothing said; A milky whiteness spreads upon her cheeks; An icy hand, as heavy as lead, Descending, as her brother speaks, Upon her heart, that has ceased to beat, Suspends awhile its life and heat. She stands beside the boy, now sore distressed, A wax Madonna as a peasant dressed.
At length, the bridal song again Brings her back to her sorrow and pain.
"Hark! the joyous airs are ringing! Sister, dost thou hear them singing? How merrily they laugh and jest! Would we were bidden with the rest! I would don my hose of homespun gray, And my doublet of linen striped and gay; Perhaps they will come; for they do not wed Till to-morrow at seven o'clock, it is said!"
"I know it!" answered Margaret; Whom the vision, with aspect black as jet, Mastered again; and its hand of ice Held her heart crushed, as in a vice! "Paul, be not sad! 'T is a holiday; To-morrow put on thy doublet gay! But leave me now for a while alone." Away, with a hop and a jump, went Paul, And, as he whistled along the hall, Entered Jane, the crippled crone.
"Holy Virgin! what dreadful heat! I am faint, and weary, and out of breath! But thou art cold,—art chill as death; My little friend! what ails thee, sweet?" "Nothing! I heard them singing home the bride; And, as I listened to the song, I thought my turn would come erelong, Thou knowest it is at Whitsuntide. Thy cards forsooth can never lie, To me such joy they prophesy, Thy skill shall be vaunted far and wide When they behold him at my side. And poor Baptiste, what sayest thou? It must seem long to him;—methinks I see him now!" Jane, shuddering, her hand doth press: "Thy love I cannot all approve; We must not trust too much to happiness;— Go, pray to God, that thou mayst love him less!" "The more I pray, the more I love! It is no sin, for God is on my side!" It was enough; and Jane no more replied.
Now to all hope her heart is barred and cold; But to deceive the beldame old She takes a sweet, contented air; Speak of foul weather or of fair, At every word the maiden smiles! Thus the beguiler she beguiles; So that, departing at the evening's close, She says, "She may be saved! she nothing knows!"
Poor Jane, the cunning sorceress! Now that thou wouldst, thou art no prophetess! This morning, in the fulness of thy heart, Thou wast so, far beyond thine art!
Now rings the bell, nine times reverberating, And the white daybreak, stealing up the sky, Sees in two cottages two maidens waiting, How differently!
Queen of a day, by flatterers caressed, The one puts on her cross and crown, Decks with a huge bouquet her breast, And flaunting, fluttering up and down, Looks at herself, and cannot rest, The other, blind, within her little room, Has neither crown nor flower's perfume; But in their stead for something gropes apart, That in a drawer's recess doth lie, And, 'neath her bodice of bright scarlet dye, Convulsive clasps it to her heart.
The one, fantastic, light as air, 'Mid kisses ringing, And joyous singing, Forgets to say her morning prayer!
The other, with cold drops upon her brow, Joins her two hands, and kneels upon the floor, And whispers, as her brother opes the door, "O God! forgive me now!"
And then the orphan, young and blind, Conducted by her brother's hand, Towards the church, through paths unscanned, With tranquil air, her way doth wind. Odors of laurel, making her faint and pale, Round her at times exhale, And in the sky as yet no sunny ray, But brumal vapors gray.
Near that castle, fair to see, Crowded with sculptures old, in every part, Marvels of nature and of art, And proud of its name of high degree, A little chapel, almost bare At the base of the rock, is builded there; All glorious that it lifts aloof, Above each jealous cottage roof, Its sacred summit, swept by autumn gales, And its blackened steeple high in air, Round which the osprey screams and sails.
"Paul, lay thy noisy rattle by!" Thus Margaret said. "Where are we? we ascend!" "Yes; seest thou not our journey's end? Hearest not the osprey from the belfry cry? The hideous bird, that brings ill luck, we know! Dost thou remember when our father said, The night we watched beside his bed, 'O daughter, I am weak and low; Take care of Paul; I feel that I am dying!' And thou, and he, and I, all fell to crying? Then on the roof the osprey screamed aloud; And here they brought our father in his shroud. There is his grave; there stands the cross we set; Why dost thou clasp me so, dear Margaret? Come in! The bride will be here soon: Thou tremblest! O my God! thou art going to swoon!"
She could no more,—the blind girl, weak and weary! A voice seemed crying from that grave so dreary, "What wouldst thou do, my daughter?"—and she started, And quick recoiled, aghast, faint-hearted; But Paul, impatient, urges evermore Her steps towards the open door; And when, beneath her feet, the unhappy maid Crushes the laurel near the house immortal, And with her head, as Paul talks on again, Touches the crown of filigrane Suspended from the low-arched portal, No more restrained, no more afraid, She walks, as for a feast arrayed, And in the ancient chapel's sombre night They both are lost to sight.
At length the bell, With booming sound, Sends forth, resounding round. Its hymeneal peal o'er rock and down the dell. It is broad day, with sunshine and with rain; And yet the guests delay not long, For soon arrives the bridal train, And with it brings the village throng.
In sooth, deceit maketh no mortal gay, For lo! Baptiste on this triumphant day, Mute as an idiot, sad as yester-morning, Thinks only of the beldame's words of warning.
And Angela thinks of her cross, I wis; To be a bride is all! The pretty lisper Feels her heart swell to hear all round her whisper, "How beautiful! how beautiful she is!".
But she must calm that giddy head, For already the Mass is said; At the holy table stands the priest; The wedding ring is blessed; Baptiste receives it; Ere on the finger of the bride he leaves it, He must pronounce one word at least! 'T is spoken; and sudden at the grooms-man's side "'T is he!" a well-known voice has cried. And while the wedding guests all hold their breath, Opes the confessional, and the blind girl, see! "Baptiste," she said, "since thou hast wished my death, As holy water be my blood for thee!" And calmly in the air a knife suspended! Doubtless her guardian angel near attended, For anguish did its work so well, That, ere the fatal stroke descended, Lifeless she fell!
At eve instead of bridal verse, The De Profundis filled the air; Decked with flowers a simple hearse To the churchyard forth they bear; Village girls in robes of snow Follow, weeping as they go; Nowhere was a smile that day, No, ah no! for each one seemed to say:—
"The road should mourn and be veiled in gloom, So fair a corpse shall leave its home! Should mourn and should weep, ah, well-away! So fair a corpse shall pass to-day!"
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
FROM THE NOEI BOURGUIGNON DE GUI BAROZAI
I hear along our street Pass the minstrel throngs; Hark! they play so sweet, On their hautboys, Christmas songs! Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire!
In December ring Every day the chimes; Loud the gleemen sing In the streets their merry rhymes. Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire.
Shepherds at the grange, Where the Babe was born, Sang, with many a change, Christmas carols until morn. Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire!
These good people sang Songs devout and sweet; While the rafters rang, There they stood with freezing feet. Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire.
Nuns in frigid veils At this holy tide, For want of something else, Christmas songs at times have tried. Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them fill the night expire!
Washerwomen old, To the sound they beat, Sing by rivers cold, With uncovered heads and feet. Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire.
Who by the fireside stands Stamps his feet and sings; But he who blows his hands Not so gay a carol brings. Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire!
To M. Duperrier, Gentleman of Aix in Provence, on the Death of his Daughter.
BY FRANCOISE MALHERBE
Will then, Duperrier, thy sorrow be eternal? And shall the sad discourse Whispered within thy heart, by tenderness paternal, Only augment its force?
Thy daughter's mournful fate, into the tomb descending By death's frequented ways, Has it become to thee a labyrinth never ending, Where thy lost reason strays?
I know the charms that made her youth a benediction: Nor should I be content, As a censorious friend, to solace thine affliction By her disparagement.
But she was of the world, which fairest things exposes To fates the most forlorn; A rose, she too hath lived as long as live the roses, The space of one brief morn.
* * * * *
Death has his rigorous laws, unparalleled, unfeeling; All prayers to him are vain; Cruel, he stops his ears, and, deaf to our appealing, He leaves us to complain.
The poor man in his hut, with only thatch for cover, Unto these laws must bend; The sentinel that guards the barriers of the Louvre Cannot our kings defend.
To murmur against death, in petulant defiance, Is never for the best; To will what God doth will, that is the only science That gives us any rest.
TO CARDINAL RICHELIEU
BY FRANCOIS DE MALHERBE
Thou mighty Prince of Church and State, Richelieu! until the hour of death, Whatever road man chooses, Fate Still holds him subject to her breath. Spun of all silks, our days and nights Have sorrows woven with delights; And of this intermingled shade Our various destiny appears, Even as one sees the course of years Of summers and of winters made.
Sometimes the soft, deceitful hours Let us enjoy the halcyon wave; Sometimes impending peril lowers Beyond the seaman's skill to save, The Wisdom, infinitely wise, That gives to human destinies Their foreordained necessity, Has made no law more fixed below, Than the alternate ebb and flow Of Fortune and Adversity.
THE ANGEL AND THE CHILD
BY JEAN REBOUL, THE BAKER OF NISMES
An angel with a radiant face, Above a cradle bent to look, Seemed his own image there to trace, As in the waters of a brook.
"Dear child! who me resemblest so," It whispered, "come, O come with me! Happy together let us go, The earth unworthy is of thee!
"Here none to perfect bliss attain; The soul in pleasure suffering lies; Joy hath an undertone of pain, And even the happiest hours their sighs.
"Fear doth at every portal knock; Never a day serene and pure From the o'ershadowing tempest's shock Hath made the morrow's dawn secure.
"What then, shall sorrows and shall fears Come to disturb so pure a brow? And with the bitterness of tears These eyes of azure troubled grow?
"Ah no! into the fields of space, Away shalt thou escape with me; And Providence will grant thee grace Of all the days that were to be.
"Let no one in thy dwelling cower, In sombre vestments draped and veiled; But let them welcome thy last hour, As thy first moments once they hailed.
"Without a cloud be there each brow; There let the grave no shadow cast; When one is pure as thou art now, The fairest day is still the last."
And waving wide his wings of white, The angel, at these words, had sped Towards the eternal realms of light!— Poor mother! see, thy son is dead!
ON THE TERRACE OF THE AIGALADES
BY JOSEPH MERY
From this high portal, where upsprings The rose to touch our hands in play, We at a glance behold three things— The Sea, the Town, and the Highway.
And the Sea says: My shipwrecks fear; I drown my best friends in the deep; And those who braved icy tempests, here Among my sea-weeds lie asleep!
The Town says: I am filled and fraught With tumult and with smoke and care; My days with toil are overwrought, And in my nights I gasp for air.
The Highway says: My wheel-tracks guide To the pale climates of the North; Where my last milestone stands abide The people to their death gone forth.
Here, in the shade, this life of ours, Full of delicious air, glides by Amid a multitude of flowers As countless as the stars on high;
These red-tiled roofs, this fruitful soil, Bathed with an azure all divine, Where springs the tree that gives us oil, The grape that giveth us the wine;
Beneath these mountains stripped of trees, Whose tops with flowers are covered o'er, Where springtime of the Hesperides Begins, but endeth nevermore;
Under these leafy vaults and walls, That unto gentle sleep persuade; This rainbow of the waterfalls, Of mingled mist and sunshine made;
Upon these shores, where all invites, We live our languid life apart; This air is that of life's delights, The festival of sense and heart;
This limpid space of time prolong, Forget to-morrow in to-day, And leave unto the passing throng The Sea, the Town, and the Highway.
TO MY BROOKLET
BY JEAN FRANCOIS DUCIS
Thou brooklet, all unknown to song, Hid in the covert of the wood! Ah, yes, like thee I fear the throng, Like thee I love the solitude.
O brooklet, let my sorrows past Lie all forgotten in their graves, Till in my thoughts remain at last Only thy peace, thy flowers, thy waves.
The lily by thy margin waits;— The nightingale, the marguerite; In shadow here he meditates His nest, his love, his music sweet.
Near thee the self-collected soul Knows naught of error or of crime; Thy waters, murmuring as they roll, Transform his musings into rhyme.
Ah, when, on bright autumnal eves, Pursuing still thy course, shall I Lisp the soft shudder of the leaves, And hear the lapwing's plaintive cry?
BY LEFRANC DE POMPIGNAN
I leave you, ye cold mountain chains, Dwelling of warriors stark and frore! You, may these eyes behold no more, Rave on the horizon of our plains.
Vanish, ye frightful, gloomy views! Ye rocks that mount up to the clouds! Of skies, enwrapped in misty shrouds, Impracticable avenues!
Ye torrents, that with might and main Break pathways through the rocky walls, With your terrific waterfalls Fatigue no more my weary brain!
Arise, ye landscapes full of charms, Arise, ye pictures of delight! Ye brooks, that water in your flight The flowers and harvests of our farms!
You I perceive, ye meadows green, Where the Garonne the lowland fills, Not far from that long chain of hills, With intermingled vales between.
You wreath of smoke, that mounts so high, Methinks from my own hearth must come; With speed, to that beloved home, Fly, ye too lazy coursers, fly!
And bear me thither, where the soul In quiet may itself possess, Where all things soothe the mind's distress, Where all things teach me and console.
WILL EVER THE DEAR DAYS COME BACK AGAIN?
Will ever the dear days come back again, Those days of June, when lilacs were in bloom, And bluebirds sang their sonnets in the gloom Of leaves that roofed them in from sun or rain? I know not; but a presence will remain Forever and forever in this room, Formless, diffused in air, like a perfume,— A phantom of the heart, and not the brain. Delicious days! when every spoken word Was like a foot-fall nearer and more near, And a mysterious knocking at the gate Of the heart's secret places, and we heard In the sweet tumult of delight and fear A voice that whispered, "Open, I cannot wait!"
AT LA CHAUDEAU
BY XAVIER MARMIER
At La Chaudeau,—'t is long since then: I was young,—my years twice ten; All things smiled on the happy boy, Dreams of love and songs of joy, Azure of heaven and wave below, At La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau I come back old: My head is gray, my blood is cold; Seeking along the meadow ooze, Seeking beside the river Seymouse, The days of my spring-time of long ago At La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau nor heart nor brain Ever grows old with grief and pain; A sweet remembrance keeps off age; A tender friendship doth still assuage The burden of sorrow that one may know At La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau, had fate decreed To limit the wandering life I lead, Peradventure I still, forsooth, Should have preserved my fresh green youth, Under the shadows the hill-tops throw At La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau, live on, my friends, Happy to be where God intends; And sometimes, by the evening fire, Think of him whose sole desire Is again to sit in the old chateau At La Chaudeau.
A QUIET LIFE.
Let him who will, by force or fraud innate, Of courtly grandeurs gain the slippery height; I, leaving not the home of my delight, Far from the world and noise will meditate. Then, without pomps or perils of the great, I shall behold the day succeed the night; Behold the alternate seasons take their flight, And in serene repose old age await. And so, whenever Death shall come to close The happy moments that my days compose, I, full of years, shall die, obscure, alone! How wretched is the man, with honors crowned, Who, having not the one thing needful found, Dies, known to all, but to himself unknown.
THE WINE OF JURANCON
BY CHARLES CORAN
Little sweet wine of Jurancon, You are dear to my memory still! With mine host and his merry song, Under the rose-tree I drank my fill.
Twenty years after, passing that way, Under the trellis I found again Mine host, still sitting there au frais, And singing still the same refrain.
The Jurancon, so fresh and bold, Treats me as one it used to know; Souvenirs of the days of old Already from the bottle flow,
With glass in hand our glances met; We pledge, we drink. How sour it is Never Argenteuil piquette Was to my palate sour as this!
And yet the vintage was good, in sooth; The self-same juice, the self-same cask! It was you, O gayety of my youth, That failed in the autumnal flask!
BY CLEMENT MAROT
To gallop off to town post-haste, So oft, the times I cannot tell; To do vile deed, nor feel disgraced,— Friar Lubin will do it well. But a sober life to lead, To honor virtue, and pursue it, That's a pious, Christian deed,— Friar Lubin can not do it.
To mingle, with a knowing smile, The goods of others with his own, And leave you without cross or pile, Friar Lubin stands alone. To say 't is yours is all in vain, If once he lays his finger to it; For as to giving back again, Friar Lubin cannot do it.
With flattering words and gentle tone, To woo and win some guileless maid, Cunning pander need you none,— Friar Lubin knows the trade. Loud preacheth he sobriety, But as for water, doth eschew it; Your dog may drink it,—but not he; Friar Lubin cannot do it.
ENVOY When an evil deed 's to do Friar Lubin is stout and true; Glimmers a ray of goodness through it, Friar Lubin cannot do it.
BY JEAN FROISSART
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine? Naught see I fixed or sure in thee! I do not know thee,—nor what deeds are thine: Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine? Naught see I fixed or sure in thee!
Shall I be mute, or vows with prayers combine? Ye who are blessed in loving, tell it me: Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine? Naught see I permanent or sure in thee!
BY FELIX ARVERS
My soul its secret has, my life too has its mystery, A love eternal in a moment's space conceived; Hopeless the evil is, I have not told its history, And she who was the cause nor knew it nor believed. Alas! I shall have passed close by her unperceived, Forever at her side, and yet forever lonely, I shall unto the end have made life's journey, only Daring to ask for naught, and having naught received. For her, though God has made her gentle and endearing, She will go on her way distraught and without hearing These murmurings of love that round her steps ascend, Piously faithful still unto her austere duty, Will say, when she shall read these lines full of her beauty, "Who can this woman be?" and will not comprehend.
FROM THE ITALIAN
THE CELESTIAL PILOT
PURGATORIO II. 13-51.
And now, behold! as at the approach of morning, Through the gross vapors, Mars grows fiery red Down in the west upon the ocean floor Appeared to me,—may I again behold it! A light along the sea, so swiftly coming, Its motion by no flight of wing is equalled. And when therefrom I had withdrawn a little Mine eyes, that I might question my conductor, Again I saw it brighter grown and larger. Thereafter, on all sides of it, appeared I knew not what of white, and underneath, Little by little, there came forth another. My master yet had uttered not a word, While the first whiteness into wings unfolded; But, when he clearly recognized the pilot, He cried aloud: "Quick, quick, and bow the knee! Behold the Angel of God! fold up thy hands! Henceforward shalt thou see such officers! See, how he scorns all human arguments, So that no oar he wants, nor other sail Than his own wings, between so distant shores! See, how he holds them, pointed straight to heaven, Fanning the air with the eternal pinions, That do not moult themselves like mortal hair!" And then, as nearer and more near us came The Bird of Heaven, more glorious he appeared, So that the eye could not sustain his presence, But down I cast it; and he came to shore With a small vessel, gliding swift and light, So that the water swallowed naught thereof. Upon the stern stood the Celestial Pilot! Beatitude seemed written in his face! And more than a hundred spirits sat within. "In exitu Israel de Aegypto!" Thus sang they all together in one voice, With whatso in that Psalm is after written. Then made he sign of holy rood upon them, Whereat all cast themselves upon the shore, And he departed swiftly as he came.
THE TERRESTRIAL PARADISE
PURGATORIO XXVIII. 1-33.
Longing already to search in and round The heavenly forest, dense and living-green, Which tempered to the eyes the newborn day, Withouten more delay I left the bank, Crossing the level country slowly, slowly, Over the soil, that everywhere breathed fragrance. A gently-breathing air, that no mutation Had in itself, smote me upon the forehead, No heavier blow, than of a pleasant breeze, Whereat the tremulous branches readily Did all of them bow downward towards that side Where its first shadow casts the Holy Mountain; Yet not from their upright direction bent So that the little birds upon their tops Should cease the practice of their tuneful art; But with full-throated joy, the hours of prime Singing received they in the midst of foliage That made monotonous burden to their rhymes, Even as from branch to branch it gathering swells, Through the pine forests on the shore of Chiassi, When Aeolus unlooses the Sirocco. Already my slow steps had led me on Into the ancient wood so far, that I Could see no more the place where I had entered. And lo! my further course cut off a river, Which, tow'rds the left hand, with its little waves, Bent down the grass, that on its margin sprang. All waters that on earth most limpid are, Would seem to have within themselves some mixture, Compared with that, which nothing doth conceal, Although it moves on with a brown, brown current, Under the shade perpetual, that never Ray of the sun lets in, nor of the moon.
PURGATORIO XXX. 13-33, 85-99, XXXI. 13-21.
Even as the Blessed, at the final summons, Shall rise up quickened, each one from his grave, Wearing again the garments of the flesh, So, upon that celestial chariot, A hundred rose ad vocem tanti senis, Ministers and messengers of life eternal. They all were saying, "Benedictus qui venis," And scattering flowers above and round about, "Manibus o date lilia plenis." Oft have I seen, at the approach of day, The orient sky all stained with roseate hues, And the other heaven with light serene adorned, And the sun's face uprising, overshadowed, So that, by temperate influence of vapors, The eye sustained his aspect for long while; Thus in the bosom of a cloud of flowers, Which from those hands angelic were thrown up, And down descended inside and without, With crown of olive o'er a snow-white veil, Appeared a lady, under a green mantle, Vested in colors of the living flame. . . . . . . Even as the snow, among the living rafters Upon the back of Italy, congeals, Blown on and beaten by Sclavonian winds, And then, dissolving, filters through itself, Whene'er the land, that loses shadow, breathes, Like as a taper melts before a fire, Even such I was, without a sigh or tear, Before the song of those who chime forever After the chiming of the eternal spheres; But, when I heard in those sweet melodies Compassion for me, more than had they said, "O wherefore, lady, dost thou thus consume him?" The ice, that was about my heart congealed, To air and water changed, and, in my anguish, Through lips and eyes came gushing from my breast. . . . . . . Confusion and dismay, together mingled, Forced such a feeble "Yes!" out of my mouth, To understand it one had need of sight. Even as a cross-bow breaks, when 't is discharged, Too tensely drawn the bow-string and the bow, And with less force the arrow hits the mark; So I gave way beneath this heavy burden, Gushing forth into bitter tears and sighs, And the voice, fainting, flagged upon its passage.
BY VINCENZO DA FILICAJA
Italy! Italy! thou who'rt doomed to wear The fatal gift of beauty, and possess The dower funest of infinite wretchedness Written upon thy forehead by despair; Ah! would that thou wert stronger, or less fair. That they might fear thee more, or love thee less, Who in the splendor of thy loveliness Seem wasting, yet to mortal combat dare! Then from the Alps I should not see descending Such torrents of armed men, nor Gallic horde Drinking the wave of Po, distained with gore, Nor should I see thee girded with a sword Not thine, and with the stranger's arm contending, Victor or vanquished, slave forever more.
SEVEN SONNETS AND A CANZONE [The following translations are from the poems of Michael Angelo as revised by his nephew Michael Angelo the Younger, and were made before the publication of the original text by Guasti.]
Nothing the greatest artist can conceive That every marble block doth not confine Within itself; and only its design The hand that follows intellect can achieve. The ill I flee, the good that I believe, In thee, fair lady, lofty and divine, Thus hidden lie; and so that death be mine Art, of desired success, doth me bereave. Love is not guilty, then, nor thy fair face, Nor fortune, cruelty, nor great disdain, Of my disgrace, nor chance, nor destiny, If in thy heart both death and love find place At the same time, and if my humble brain, Burning, can nothing draw but death from thee.
Not without fire can any workman mould The iron to his preconceived design, Nor can the artist without fire refine And purify from all its dross the gold; Nor can revive the phoenix, we are told, Except by fire. Hence if such death be mine I hope to rise again with the divine, Whom death augments, and time cannot make old. O sweet, sweet death! O fortunate fire that burns Within me still to renovate my days, Though I am almost numbered with the dead! If by its nature unto heaven returns This element, me, kindled in its blaze, Will it bear upward when my life is fled.
YOUTH AND AGE
Oh give me back the days when loose and free To my blind passion were the curb and rein, Oh give me back the angelic face again, With which all virtue buried seems to be! Oh give my panting footsteps back to me, That are in age so slow and fraught with pain, And fire and moisture in the heart and brain, If thou wouldst have me burn and weep for thee! If it be true thou livest alone, Amor, On the sweet-bitter tears of human hearts, In an old man thou canst not wake desire; Souls that have almost reached the other shore Of a diviner love should feel the darts, And be as tinder to a holier fire.
The course of my long life hath reached at last, In fragile bark o'er a tempestuous sea, The common harbor, where must rendered be Account of all the actions of the past. The impassioned phantasy, that, vague and vast, Made art an idol and a king to me, Was an illusion, and but vanity Were the desires that lured me and harassed. The dreams of love, that were so sweet of yore, What are they now, when two deaths may be mine,— One sure, and one forecasting its alarms? Painting and sculpture satisfy no more The soul now turning to the Love Divine, That oped, to embrace us, on the cross its arms.
TO VITTORIA COLONNA
Lady, how can it chance—yet this we see In long experience—that will longer last A living image carved from quarries vast Than its own maker, who dies presently? Cause yieldeth to effect if this so be, And even Nature is by Art at surpassed; This know I, who to Art have given the past, But see that Time is breaking faith with me. Perhaps on both of us long life can I Either in color or in stone bestow, By now portraying each in look and mien; So that a thousand years after we die, How fair thou wast, and I how full of woe, And wherefore I so loved thee, may be seen.
TO VITTORIA COLONNA
When the prime mover of my many sighs Heaven took through death from out her earthly place, Nature, that never made so fair a face, Remained ashamed, and tears were in all eyes. O fate, unheeding my impassioned cries! O hopes fallacious! O thou spirit of grace, Where art thou now? Earth holds in its embrace Thy lovely limbs, thy holy thoughts the skies. Vainly did cruel death attempt to stay The rumor of thy virtuous renown, That Lethe's waters could not wash away! A thousand leaves, since he hath stricken thee down, Speak of thee, nor to thee could Heaven convey, Except through death, a refuge and a crown.
What should be said of him cannot be said; By too great splendor is his name attended; To blame is easier those who him offended, Than reach the faintest glory round him shed. This man descended to the doomed and dead For our instruction; then to God ascended; Heaven opened wide to him its portals splendid, Who from his country's, closed against him, fled. Ungrateful land! To its own prejudice Nurse of his fortunes; and this showeth well, That the most perfect most of grief shall see. Among a thousand proofs let one suffice, That as his exile hath no parallel, Ne'er walked the earth a greater man than he.
Ah me! ah me! when thinking of the years, The vanished years, alas, I do not find Among them all one day that was my own! Fallacious hope; desires of the unknown, Lamenting, loving, burning, and in tears (For human passions all have stirred my mind), Have held me, now I feel and know, confined Both from the true and good still far away. I perish day by day; The sunshine fails, the shadows grow more dreary, And I am near to fail, infirm and weary.
THE NATURE OF LOVE
BY GUIDO GUINIZELLI
To noble heart Love doth for shelter fly, As seeks the bird the forest's leafy shade; Love was not felt till noble heart beat high, Nor before love the noble heart was made. Soon as the sun's broad flame Was formed, so soon the clear light filled the air; Yet was not till he came: So love springs up in noble breasts, and there Has its appointed space, As heat in the bright flames finds its allotted place. Kindles in noble heart the fire of love, As hidden virtue in the precious stone: This virtue comes not from the stars above, Till round it the ennobling sun has shone; But when his powerful blaze Has drawn forth what was vile, the stars impart Strange virtue in their rays; And thus when Nature doth create the heart Noble and pure and high, Like virtue from the star, love comes from woman's eye.
FROM THE PORTUGUESE
BY GIL VICENTE
If thou art sleeping, maiden, Awake and open thy door, 'T is the break of day, and we must away, O'er meadow, and mount, and moor.
Wait not to find thy slippers, But come with thy naked feet; We shall have to pass through the dewy grass, And waters wide and fleet.
FROM EASTERN SOURCES
A TARTAR SONG
"He is gone to the desert land I can see the shining mane Of his horse on the distant plain, As he rides with his Kossak band!
"Come back, rebellious one! Let thy proud heart relent; Come back to my tall, white tent, Come back, my only son!
"Thy hand in freedom shall Cast thy hawks, when morning breaks, On the swans of the Seven Lakes, On the lakes of Karajal.
"I will give thee leave to stray And pasture thy hunting steeds In the long grass and the reeds Of the meadows of Karaday.
"I will give thee my coat of mail, Of softest leather made, With choicest steel inlaid; Will not all this prevail?"
"This hand no longer shall Cast my hawks, when morning breaks, On the swans of the Seven Lakes, On the lakes of Karajal.
"I will no longer stray And pasture my hunting steeds In the long grass and the reeds Of the meadows of Karaday.
"Though thou give me thy coat of mall, Of softest leather made, With choicest steel inlaid, All this cannot prevail.
"What right hast thou, O Khan, To me, who am mine own, Who am slave to God alone, And not to any man?
"God will appoint the day When I again shall be By the blue, shallow sea, Where the steel-bright sturgeons play.
"God, who doth care for me, In the barren wilderness, On unknown hills, no less Will my companion be.
"When I wander lonely and lost In the wind; when I watch at night Like a hungry wolf, and am white And covered with hoar-frost;
"Yea, wheresoever I be, In the yellow desert sands, In mountains or unknown lands, Allah will care for me!"
Then Sobra, the old, old man,— Three hundred and sixty years Had he lived in this land of tears, Bowed down and said, "O Khan!
"If you bid me, I will speak. There's no sap in dry grass, No marrow in dry bones! Alas, The mind of old men is weak!
"I am old, I am very old: I have seen the primeval man, I have seen the great Gengis Khan, Arrayed in his robes of gold.
"What I say to you is the truth; And I say to you, O Khan, Pursue not the star-white man, Pursue not the beautiful youth.
"Him the Almighty made, And brought him forth of the light, At the verge and end of the night, When men on the mountain prayed.
"He was born at the break of day, When abroad the angels walk; He hath listened to their talk, And he knoweth what they say.
"Gifted with Allah's grace, Like the moon of Ramazan When it shines in the skies, O Khan, Is the light of his beautiful face.
"When first on earth he trod, The first words that he said Were these, as he stood and prayed, There is no God but God!
"And he shall be king of men, For Allah hath heard his prayer, And the Archangel in the air, Gabriel, hath said, Amen!"
THE SIEGE OF KAZAN
Black are the moors before Kazan, And their stagnant waters smell of blood: I said in my heart, with horse and man, I will swim across this shallow flood.
Under the feet of Argamack, Like new moons were the shoes he bare, Silken trappings hung on his back, In a talisman on his neck, a prayer.
My warriors, thought I, are following me; But when I looked behind, alas! Not one of all the band could I see, All had sunk in the black morass!
Where are our shallow fords? and where The power of Kazan with its fourfold gates? From the prison windows our maidens fair Talk of us still through the iron grates.
We cannot hear them; for horse and man Lie buried deep in the dark abyss! Ah! the black day hath come down on Kazan! Ah! was ever a grief like this?
THE BOY AND THE BROOK
Down from yon distant mountain height The brooklet flows through the village street; A boy comes forth to wash his hands, Washing, yes washing, there he stands, In the water cool and sweet.
Brook, from what mountain dost thou come, O my brooklet cool and sweet! I come from yon mountain high and cold, Where lieth the new snow on the old, And melts in the summer heat.
Brook, to what river dost thou go? O my brooklet cool and sweet! I go to the river there below Where in bunches the violets grow, And sun and shadow meet.
Brook, to what garden dost thou go? O my brooklet cool and sweet! I go to the garden in the vale Where all night long the nightingale Her love-song doth repeat.
Brook, to what fountain dost thou go? O my brooklet cool and sweet! I go to the fountain at whose brink The maid that loves thee comes to drink, And whenever she looks therein, I rise to meet her, and kiss her chin, And my joy is then complete.
TO THE STORK
Welcome, O Stork! that dost wing Thy flight from the far-away! Thou hast brought us the signs of Spring, Thou hast made our sad hearts gay.
Descend, O Stork! descend Upon our roof to rest; In our ash-tree, O my friend, My darling, make thy nest.
To thee, O Stork, I complain, O Stork, to thee I impart The thousand sorrows, the pain And aching of my heart.
When thou away didst go, Away from this tree of ours, The withering winds did blow, And dried up all the flowers.
Dark grew the brilliant sky, Cloudy and dark and drear; They were breaking the snow on high, And winter was drawing near.
From Varaca's rocky wall, From the rock of Varaca unrolled, the snow came and covered all, And the green meadow was cold.
O Stork, our garden with snow Was hidden away and lost, Mid the rose-trees that in it grow Were withered by snow and frost.
FROM THE LATIN
VIRGIL'S FIRST ECLOGUE
MELIBOEUS. Tityrus, thou in the shade of a spreading beech-tree reclining, Meditatest, with slender pipe, the Muse of the woodlands. We our country's bounds and pleasant pastures relinquish, We our country fly; thou, Tityrus, stretched in the shadow, Teachest the woods to resound with the name of the fair Amaryllis.
TITYRUS. O Meliboeus, a god for us this leisure created, For he will be unto me a god forever; his altar Oftentimes shall imbue a tender lamb from our sheepfolds. He, my heifers to wander at large, and myself, as thou seest, On my rustic reed to play what I will, hath permitted.
MELIBOEUS. Truly I envy not, I marvel rather; on all sides In all the fields is such trouble. Behold, my goats I am driving, Heartsick, further away; this one scarce, Tityrus, lead I; For having here yeaned twins just now among the dense hazels, Hope of the flock, ah me! on the naked flint she hath left them. Often this evil to me, if my mind had not been insensate, Oak-trees stricken by heaven predicted, as now I remember; Often the sinister crow from the hollow ilex predicted, Nevertheless, who this god may be, O Tityrus, tell me.
TITYRUS. O Meliboeus, the city that they call Rome, I imagined, Foolish I! to be like this of ours, where often we shepherds Wonted are to drive down of our ewes the delicate offspring. Thus whelps like unto dogs had I known, and kids to their mothers, Thus to compare great things with small had I been accustomed. But this among other cities its head as far hath exalted As the cypresses do among the lissome viburnums.
MELIBOEUS. And what so great occasion of seeing Rome hath possessed thee?
TITYRUS. Liberty, which, though late, looked upon me in my inertness, After the time when my beard fell whiter front me in shaving,— Yet she looked upon me, and came to me after a long while, Since Amaryllis possesses and Galatea hath left me. For I will even confess that while Galatea possessed me Neither care of my flock nor hope of liberty was there. Though from my wattled folds there went forth many a victim, And the unctuous cheese was pressed for the city ungrateful, Never did my right hand return home heavy with money.
MELIBOEUS. I have wondered why sad thou invokedst the gods, Amaryllis, And for whom thou didst suffer the apples to hang on the branches! Tityrus hence was absent! Thee, Tityrus, even the pine-trees, Thee, the very fountains, the very copses were calling.
TITYRUS. What could I do? No power had I to escape from my bondage, Nor had I power elsewhere to recognize gods so propitious. Here I beheld that youth, to whom each year, Meliboeus, During twice six days ascends the smoke of our altars. Here first gave he response to me soliciting favor: "Feed as before your heifers, ye boys, and yoke up your bullocks."
MELIBOEUS. Fortunate old man! So then thy fields will be left thee, And large enough for thee, though naked stone and the marish All thy pasture-lands with the dreggy rush may encompass. No unaccustomed food thy gravid ewes shall endanger, Nor of the neighboring flock the dire contagion inject them. Fortunate old man! Here among familiar rivers, And these sacred founts, shalt thou take the shadowy coolness. On this side, a hedge along the neighboring cross-road, Where Hyblaean bees ever feed on the flower of the willow, Often with gentle susurrus to fall asleep shall persuade thee. Yonder, beneath the high rock, the pruner shall sing to the breezes, Nor meanwhile shalt thy heart's delight, the hoarse wood-pigeons, Nor the turtle-dove cease to mourn from aerial elm-trees.
TITYRUS. Therefore the agile stags shall sooner feed in the ether, And the billows leave the fishes bare on the sea-shore. Sooner, the border-lands of both overpassed, shall the exiled Parthian drink of the Soane, or the German drink of the Tigris, Than the face of him shall glide away from my bosom!
MELIBOEUS. But we hence shall go, a part to the thirsty Afries, Part to Scythia come, and the rapid Cretan Oaxes, And to the Britons from all the universe utterly sundered. Ah, shall I ever, a long time hence, the bounds of my country And the roof of my lowly cottage covered with greensward Seeing, with wonder behold,—my kingdoms, a handful of wheat-ears! Shall an impious soldier possess these lands newly cultured, And these fields of corn a barbarian? Lo, whither discord Us wretched people hath brought! for whom our fields we have planted! Graft, Meliboeus, thy pear-trees now, put in order thy vine-yards. Go, my goats, go hence, my flocks so happy aforetime. Never again henceforth outstretched in my verdurous cavern Shall I behold you afar from the bushy precipice hanging. Songs no more shall I sing; not with me, ye goats, as your shepherd, Shall ye browse on the bitter willow or blooming laburnum.
TITYRUS. Nevertheless, this night together with me canst thou rest thee Here on the verdant leaves; for us there are mellowing apples, Chestnuts soft to the touch, and clouted cream in abundance; And the high roofs now of the villages smoke in the distance, And from the lofty mountains are falling larger the shadows.
OVID IN EXILE
AT TOMIS, IN BESSARABIA, NEAR THE MOUTHS OF THE DANUBE.
TRISTIA, Book III., Elegy X.
Should any one there in Rome remember Ovid the exile, And, without me, my name still in the city survive;
Tell him that under stars which never set in the ocean I am existing still, here in a barbarous land.
Fierce Sarmatians encompass me round, and the Bessi and Getae; Names how unworthy to be sung by a genius like mine!
Yet when the air is warm, intervening Ister defends us: He, as he flows, repels inroads of war with his waves.
But when the dismal winter reveals its hideous aspect, When all the earth becomes white with a marble-like frost;
And when Boreas is loosed, and the snow hurled under Arcturus, Then these nations, in sooth, shudder and shiver with cold.
Deep lies the snow, and neither the sun nor the rain can dissolve it; Boreas hardens it still, makes it forever remain.
Hence, ere the first ha-s melted away, another succeeds it, And two years it is wont, in many places, to lie.
And so great is the power of the Northwind awakened, it levels Lofty towers with the ground, roofs uplifted bears off.
Wrapped in skins, and with trousers sewed, they contend with the weather, And their faces alone of the whole body are seen.
Often their tresses, when shaken, with pendent icicles tinkle, And their whitened beards shine with the gathering frost.
Wines consolidate stand, preserving the form of the vessels; No more draughts of wine,—pieces presented they drink.
Why should I tell you how all the rivers are frozen and solid, And from out of the lake frangible water is dug?
Ister,—no narrower stream than the river that bears the papyrus,— Which through its many mouths mingles its waves with the deep;
Ister, with hardening winds, congeals its cerulean waters, Under a roof of ice, winding its way to the sea.
There where ships have sailed, men go on foot; and the billows, Solid made by the frost, hoof-beats of horses indent.
Over unwonted bridges, with water gliding beneath them, The Sarmatian steers drag their barbarian carts.
Scarcely shall I be believed; yet when naught is gained by a falsehood, Absolute credence then should to a witness be given.
I have beheld the vast Black Sea of ice all compacted, And a slippery crust pressing its motionless tides.
'T is not enough to have seen, I have trodden this indurate ocean; Dry shod passed my foot over its uppermost wave.
If thou hadst had of old such a sea as this is, Leander! Then thy death had not been charged as a crime to the Strait.
Nor can the curved dolphins uplift themselves from the water; All their struggles to rise merciless winter prevents;
And though Boreas sound with roar of wings in commotion, In the blockaded gulf never a wave will there be;
And the ships will stand hemmed in by the frost, as in marble, Nor will the oar have power through the stiff waters to cleave.
Fast-bound in the ice have I seen the fishes adhering, Yet notwithstanding this some of them still were alive.
Hence, if the savage strength of omnipotent Boreas freezes Whether the salt-sea wave, whether the refluent stream,—
Straightway,—the Ister made level by arid blasts of the North-wind,— Comes the barbaric foe borne on his swift-footed steed;
Foe, that powerful made by his steed and his far-flying arrows, All the neighboring land void of inhabitants makes.
Some take flight, and none being left to defend their possessions, Unprotected, their goods pillage and plunder become;
Cattle and creaking carts, the little wealth of the country, And what riches beside indigent peasants possess.
Some as captives are driven along, their hands bound behind them, Looking backward in vain toward their Lares and lands.
Others, transfixed with barbed arrows, in agony perish, For the swift arrow-heads all have in poison been dipped.
What they cannot carry or lead away they demolish, And the hostile flames burn up the innocent cots.
Even when there is peace, the fear of war is impending; None, with the ploughshare pressed, furrows the soil any more.
Either this region sees, or fears a foe that it sees not, And the sluggish land slumbers in utter neglect.
No sweet grape lies hidden here in the shade of its vine-leaves, No fermenting must fills and o'erflows the deep vats.
Apples the region denies; nor would Acontius have found here Aught upon which to write words for his mistress to read.
Naked and barren plains without leaves or trees we behold here,— Places, alas! unto which no happy man would repair.
Since then this mighty orb lies open so wide upon all sides, Has this region been found only my prison to be?
TRISTIA, Book III., Elegy XII.
Now the zephyrs diminish the cold, and the year being ended, Winter Maeotian seems longer than ever before;
And the Ram that bore unsafely the burden of Helle, Now makes the hours of the day equal with those of the night.
Now the boys and the laughing girls the violet gather, Which the fields bring forth, nobody sowing the seed.
Now the meadows are blooming with flowers of various colors, And with untaught throats carol the garrulous birds.
Now the swallow, to shun the crime of her merciless mother, Under the rafters builds cradles and dear little homes;
And the blade that lay hid, covered up in the furrows of Ceres, Now from the tepid ground raises its delicate head.
Where there is ever a vine, the bud shoots forth from the tendrils, But from the Getic shore distant afar is the vine!
Where there is ever a tree, on the tree the branches are swelling, But from the Getic land distant afar is the tree!
Now it is holiday there in Rome, and to games in due order Give place the windy wars of the vociferous bar.
Now they are riding the horses; with light arms now they are playing, Now with the ball, and now round rolls the swift-flying hoop:
Now, when the young athlete with flowing oil is anointed, He in the Virgin's Fount bathes, over-wearied, his limbs.
Thrives the stage; and applause, with voices at variance, thunders, And the Theatres three for the three Forums resound.
Four times happy is he, and times without number is happy, Who the city of Rome, uninterdicted, enjoys.
But all I see is the snow in the vernal sunshine dissolving, And the waters no more delved from the indurate lake.
Nor is the sea now frozen, nor as before o'er the Ister Comes the Sarmatian boor driving his stridulous cart.
Hitherward, nevertheless, some keels already are steering, And on this Pontic shore alien vessels will be.
Eagerly shall I run to the sailor, and, having saluted, Who he may be, I shall ask; wherefore and whence he hath come.
Strange indeed will it be, if he come not from regions adjacent, And incautious unless ploughing the neighboring sea.
Rarely a mariner over the deep from Italy passes, Rarely he comes to these shores, wholly of harbors devoid.
Whether he knoweth Greek, or whether in Latin he speaketh, Surely on this account he the more welcome will be.
Also perchance from the mouth of the Strait and the waters Propontic, Unto the steady South-wind, some one is spreading his sails.
Whosoever he is, the news he can faithfully tell me, Which may become a part and an approach to the truth.
He, I pray, may be able to tell me the triumphs of Caesar, Which he has heard of, and vows paid to the Latian Jove;
And that thy sorrowful head, Germania, thou, the rebellious, Under the feet, at last, of the Great Captain hast laid.
Whoso shall tell me these things, that not to have seen will afflict me, Forthwith unto my house welcomed as guest shall he be.
Woe is me! Is the house of Ovid in Scythian lands now? And doth punishment now give me its place for a home?
Grant, ye gods, that Caesar make this not my house and my homestead, But decree it to be only the inn of my pain.