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Night of sweetest song,
With the gloomy woods,
Far in ether wide
Yawns the dread abyss
Of deep worlds uncounted.
Neither eye nor ear,
Seeking, findeth here
The end of mazy thinking.
Evermore the wheel
Of unmeasured Time
Turns round all existence;
And it bears away
Swift, how swift! the prey
Of fleet-flitting mortals.
Where soft breezes blow,
Where thou see'st the row
Of smooth-shining beeches;
Driven from the flood
Of the thronging Time,
Lina's hut receives me.
Brighter than aloft,
In night's shimmering star,
Peace with her is shining.
And the vale so sweet,
And the sweet moonlight,
Where she dwells, is sweeter.
Carl v. KNEBEL, 1744-1834.
FROM THE ITALIAN OF PETRARCH.
In the still evening, when with rapid flight,
Low in the western sky the sun descends
To give expectant nations life and light,
The aged pilgrim, in some clime unknown,
Slow journeying, right onward fearful bends
With weary haste, a stranger and alone;
Yet, when his labor ends,
He solitary sleeps.
And in short slumber steeps
Each sense of sorrow hanging on the day,
And all the toil of the long past way :
But 0 each pang, that wakes with morn's first ray,
More piercing wounds my breast,
When heaven's eternal light sinks crimson in the west!
His burning wheels when downward Phoebus bends,
And leaves the world to night, its lengthened shade
Each towering mountain o'er the vale extends ;
The thrifty peasant shoulders light his spade,
With sylvan carol gay and uncouth note,
Bidding his cares upon the wild winds float-
Content in peace to share
His poor and humble fare,
As in that golden age
We honor still, yet leave its simple ways;
Whoe'er so list, let joy his hours engage :
No gladness e'er has cheer'd my gloomy days,
Nor moment of repose,
However rolled the spheres, whatever planet rose.
When as the shepherd marks the sloping ray
Of the great orb that sinks in ocean's bed,
While on the east soft steals the evening gray,
He rises, and resumes the accustom'd crook,
Quitting the beechen grove, the field, the brook,
And gently homeward drives the flock he fed ;
Then far from human tread,
In lonely hut or cave,
O'er which the green boughs wave,
In sleep without a thought he lays his head :
Ah! cruel Love! at this dark, silent hour,
Thou wak'st to trace, and with redoubled power,
The voice, the step, the air
Of her who scorns my chain, and flies thy fatal snare.
And in some sheltered bay, at evening's close,
The mariners their rude coats 'round them fold,
Stretched on the rugged plank in deep repose :
But I, though Phoebus sink into the main,
And leave Granada wrapt in night with Spain,
Morocco, and the Pillars fam'd of old-
Though all of human kind,
And every creature blest,
All hush their ills to rest,
No end to my unceasing sorrows find :
And still the sad account swells day by day;
For, since these thoughts on my lorn spirit prey,
I see the tenth year roll;
Nor hope of freedom springs in my desponding soul.
Thus, as I vent my bursting bosom's pain!
Lo! from their yoke I see the oxen freed-
Slow moving homeward o'er the furrowed plain :
Why to my sorrow is no pause decreed?
Why from my yoke no respite must I know?
Why gush these tears, and never cease to flow?
Ah, me! what sought my eyes,
When, fixed in fond surprise,
On her angelic face
I gazed, and on my heart each charm impress'd?
From whence nor force nor art the sacred trace
Shall e'er remove, till I the victim rest
Of Death, whose mortal blow
Shall my pure spirit free, and this worn frame lay low. Translation of LADY DACRE. FRANCESCO PETRARCA, 1304-1874.
From yonder wood mark blue-eyed Eve proceed :
First through the deep, and warm, and secret glens,
Through the pale-glimmering, privet-scented lane,
And through those alders by the river-side :
Now the soft dust impedes her, which the sheep
Have hollow'd out beneath their hawthorn shade.
But ah ! look yonder! see a misty tide
Rise up the hill, lay low the frowning grove,
Enwrap the gay, white mansion, sap its sides,
Until they sink and melt away like chalk.
Now it comes down against our village tower,
Covers its base, floats o'er its arches, tears
The clinging ivy from the battlements
Mingles in broad embrace the obdurate stone
All one vast ocean! and goes swelling on
Slow and silent, dim and deepening waves.
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
Night dew-lipped comes, and every gleaming star
Its silent place assigns in yonder sky;
The moon walks forth, and fields and groves afar,
Touched by her light, in silver beauty lie
In solemn peace, that no sound comes to mar;
Hamlets and peopled cities slumber nigh ; While on this rock, in meditation's mien,
Lord of the unconscious world, I sit unseen.
How deep the quiet of this pensive hour !
Nature bids labor cease—and all obey. How sweet this stillness, in its magic power
O'er hearts that know her voice and own her sway! Stillness unbroken, save when from the flower
The whirring locust takes his upward way; And murmuring o'er the verdant turf is heard The passing brook-or leaf by breezes stirred. Borne on the pinions of night's freshening air,
Unfettered thoughts with calm reflection come;