“The actual world, the present hours
Will give enough to tax thy powers;
At no clear duty hesitate;
Serve well thy neighbor and the State;
So shalt thou add thy tiny form
To bind the reef that breasts the storm!”
SUNSET AT INTERLAKEN
The sun is low;
Yon peak of snow
Is reddening ’neath the sunset glow;
The rosy light
Makes richly bright
The Jungfrau’s veil of snowy white.
From vales that sleep
Night’s shadows creep
To take possession of the steep;
While, as they rise,
The western skies
Seem loath to leave so fair a prize.
The light of day
Still loves to stay
And round that pearly summit play;
How fair a sight
That realm of light,
Contended for by Day and Night!
Now fainter shines,
As Day declines,
The lustrous height which he resigns;
The shadows gain
Th’ illumined plane;
The Jungfrau pales, as if in pain.
When daylight dies,
The azure skies
Seem sparkling with a thousand eyes,
Which watch with grace
From depths of space
The sleeping Jungfrau’s lovely face.
And when the Light
Hath put to flight
Night’s shadows from each Alpine height,
Along the skies
It quickly flies,
To kiss the Maiden’s opening eyes.
The timid flush
And rosy blush
Which then from brow to bosom rush,
Are pure and fair
Resplendent in the crystal air.
And thus alway
By night and day
Her varying suitors homage pay;
And tinged with rose,
Or white with snows,
The same fair, radiant form she shows.
UNDER THE STARS
The breath of summer stirs the trees,
A thousand roses round me bloom,
Whose saffron petals give the breeze
A wealth of exquisite perfume,
As, climbing high, with tendrils bold,
They clothe the walls with cups of gold.
No sound disturbs the silence sweet,
The weary birds have sunk to rest;
For where the snow and sunset meet
The light is fading in the west,
And now the carking cares of day
Slip lightly from my heart away.
The emptiness of social strife,
The pettiness of human souls,
The cheap frivolities of life,
The keen pursuit of paltry goals,—
How small they seem beneath the dome
That shelters my Tyrolean home!
A shining mote, our tiny earth
No furrow leaves in shoreless space!
What is one brief existence worth,
Which disappears, and leaves no trace?
That silent, star-strewn vault survives
The dawns and dusks of countless lives.
Why grieve, dear heart? Oblivion deep
Will soon enshroud both friend and foe,
And those who laugh and those who weep
Must join the hosts of long ago,
Whose transient hours of smiles and tears
Make up earth’s wilderness of years.