I see thee, when upon the distant ridge
The dust awakes;
At midnight’s hour, when on the fragile bridge
The wanderer quakes.
I hear thee, when yon billows rise on
With murmur deep.
To tread the silent grove oft wander I,
When all’s asleep.
I’m near thee, though thou far away
Thou, too, art near!
The sun then sets, the stars soon lighten me,
Would thou wert here!
THE SHEPHERD’S LAMENT (1802)
Up yonder on the mountain,
I dwelt for days together;
Looked down into the valley,
This pleasant summer weather.
My sheep go feeding onward,
My dog sits watching by;
I’ve wandered to the valley,
And yet I know not why.
The meadow, it is pretty,
With flowers so fair to see;
I gather them, but no one
Will take the flowers from me.
The good tree gives me shadow,
And shelter from the rain;
But yonder door is silent,
It will not ope again!
I see the rainbow bending,
Above her old abode,
But she is there no longer;
They’ve taken my love abroad.
They took her o’er the mountains,
They took her o’er the sea;
Move on, move on, my bonny sheep,
There is no rest for me!
Nature and art asunder seem to fly,
Yet sooner than we think find common ground;
In place of strife, harmonious songs resound,
And both, at one, to my abode draw nigh.
In sooth but one endeavor I descry:
Then only, when in ordered moments’ round
Wisdom and toil our lives to Art have bound,
Dare we rejoice in Nature’s liberty.
Thus is achievement fashioned everywhere:
Not by ungovernable, hasty zeal
Shalt thou the height of perfect form attain.
Husband thy strength, if great emprize thou dare;
In self-restraint thy masterhood reveal,
And under law thy perfect freedom gain.
COMFORT IN TEARS (1803)
How is it that thou art so sad
When others are so gay?
Thou hast been weeping—nay, thou hast!
Thine eyes the truth betray.
“And if I may not choose but weep
Is not my grief mine own?
No heart was heavier yet for tears—
O leave me, friend, alone!”
Come join this once the merry band,
They call aloud for thee,
And mourn no more for what is lost,
But let the past go free.
“O, little know ye in your mirth,
What wrings my heart so deep!
I have not lost the idol yet,
For which I sigh and weep.”
Then rouse thee and take heart! thy blood
Is young and full of fire;
Youth should have hope and might to win,
And wear its best desire.