Page images

"O Thou, that for our sins didst take As thus the dying warrior prayed, A human form, and humbly make Without one gathering mist or shade Thy home on earth;

Upon his mind; Thou, that to thy divinity

Encircled by his family, A human nature didst ally

Watched by affection's gentle eye By mortal birth,

So soft and kind; “And in that form didst suffer here His soul to Him, who gave it, rose; Torment, and agony, and fear,

God lead it to its long repose, So patiently ;

Its glorious rest! By thy redeeming grace alone,

And though the warrior's sun has set, And not for merits of my own,

Its light shall linger round us yet, O pardon me!”

Bright, radiant, blest.


Laugh of the mountain !-lyre of bird and tree!
Pomp of the meadow! mirror of the morn!
The soul of April, unto whom are born
The rose and jessamine, leaps wild in thee !
Although where'er thy devious current strays,
The lap of earth with gold and silver teems,
To me thy clear proceeding brighter seems
Than golden sands, that charm each shepherd's gaze.
How without guile thy bosom, all transparent
As the pure crystal, lets the curious eye
Thy secrets scan, thy smooth, round pebbles count !
How, without malice murmuring, glides thy current !
O sweet simplicity of days gone by!
Thou shun'st the haunts of man, to dwell in limpid fount !


And now, behold! as at the approach of morning,
Through the gross vapours, 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And when therefrom I had withdrawn a little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 brightness into wings unfolded ;
But, when he clearly recognised 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 nought 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 out of Egypt !”
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.


FROM DANTE. PURGATORIO, XXVIII. LONGING already to search in and round The heavenly forest, dense and living green, Which to the eyes tempered the new-born 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 Æolus 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 farther course cut off a river,
Which, towards 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.

Even as the Blessed, in the new covenant,
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.
I once beheld, 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 vapours,

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 colours of the living flame.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

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 nought both late and

early, Is banished afar by the new-born year,

When thy merry step draws near.


D'ORLEANS. XV. CENTURY. 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 rain, it raineth so fast 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.


FROM THE GERMAN OF MÜLLER. “ The rivers rush into the sea,

By castle and town they go;
The winds behind them merrily

Their noisy trumpets blow.
“The clouds are passing far and high,

We little birds in them play;
And everything, that can sing and fly,

Goes with us, and far away.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

greet thee, bonny boat! Whither

or whence, With thy fluttering golden band?”— "I greet thee, little bird! To the wide sea

I haste from the narrow land.
“ Full and swollen is every sail ;

I see no longer a hill,
I have trusted all to the sounding gale,

And it will not let me stand still.
And wilt thou, little bird, go with us?
Thou mayest stand on the mainmast

For full to sinking is my house

With merry companions all.”“ I need not and seek not company,

Bonny boat, I can sing all alone; For the mainmast tall too heavy am I,

Bonny boat, I have wings of my own.

[ocr errors]

“ Who neither

may rest, nor listen may, God bless them every one! I dart away, in the bright blue day,

And the golden fields of the sun.

“ Thus do I sing my weary song,

Wherever the four winds blow;
And this same song, my, whole life

Neither poet nor printer may know.



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 ;-

'Tis 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?

« PreviousContinue »