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From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered,
On the shifting
They, like hoarded
THE DAY IS DONE. The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist :
That is not akin to pain,
As the mist resembles the rain. Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day. Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time. For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavour;
And to-night I long for rest. Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start; Who, through long days of labour,
And nig devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have
power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
The poem of thy choice,
The beauty of thy voice.
And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY.
The day is ending,
The river dead.
That glimmer red.
The road o'er the plain,
A funeral train.
To the dismal knell;
TO AN OLD DANISH SONG-BOOK.
WELCOME, my old friend,
The ungrateful world
Peasants in the field,
WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID.
[WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID, or BIRD-MEADOW, was one of the principal Minnesingers of the thirteenth century. He triumphed over Heinrich von Ofterdingen in that poetic contest at Wartburg Castle, known in literary history as the War of Wartburg.]
VOGELWEID the Minnesinger,
When he left this world of ours,
Under Würtzburg's minster towers.
Gave them all with this behest:
Daily on his place of rest;
I have learned the art of song;
They have taught so well and long."
And, fulfilling his desire,
By the children of the choir.
In foul weather and in fair,
Flocked the poets of the air.
On the tree whose heavy branches
Overshadowed all the place,
On the poet's sculptured face,
On the lintel of each door,
Which the bard had fought before.
Sang their lauds on every side; And the name their voices uttered
Was the name of Vogelweid. Till at length the portly abbot
Murmured, “Why this waste of food? Be it changed to loaves henceforward
For our fasting brotherhood.” Then in vain o'er tower and turret,
From the walls and woodland nests, When the minster bell rang noontide,
Gathered the unwelcome guests. Then in vain, with cries discordant,
Clamorous round the Gothic spire,
For the children of the choir.
On the cloister's funeral stones,
Where repose the poet's bones. But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied, Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid.
INSCRIPTION FOR AN ANTIQUE PITCHER.
COME, old friend! sit down and listen!
From the pitcher, placed between us, How the waters laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus; Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Led by his inebriate Satyrs ; On his breast his head is sunken,
Vacantly he leers and chatters.