Ah me! ah me! when thinking of the years,
The vanished years, alas, I do not find
Among them all one day that was my own!
Fallacious hope; desires of the unknown,
Lamenting, loving, burning, and in tears
(For human passions all have stirred my mind),
Have held me, now I feel and know, confined
Both from the true and good still far away.
I perish day by day;
The sunshine fails, the shadows grow more dreary,
And I am near to fail, infirm and weary.
THE NATURE OF LOVE
BY GUIDO GUINIZELLI
To noble heart Love doth for shelter fly,
As seeks the bird the forest’s leafy shade;
Love was not felt till noble heart beat high,
Nor before love the noble heart was made.
Soon as the sun’s broad flame
Was formed, so soon the clear light filled the air;
Yet was not till he came:
So love springs up in noble breasts, and there
Has its appointed space,
As heat in the bright flames finds its allotted place.
Kindles in noble heart the fire of love,
As hidden virtue in the precious stone:
This virtue comes not from the stars above,
Till round it the ennobling sun has shone;
But when his powerful blaze
Has drawn forth what was vile, the stars impart
Strange virtue in their rays;
And thus when Nature doth create the heart
Noble and pure and high,
Like virtue from the star, love comes from woman’s eye.
FROM THE PORTUGUESE
BY GIL VICENTE
If thou art sleeping, maiden,
Awake and open thy door,
’T is the break of day, and we must away,
O’er meadow, and mount, and moor.
Wait not to find thy slippers,
But come with thy naked feet;
We shall have to pass through the dewy grass,
And waters wide and fleet.
FROM EASTERN SOURCES
A TARTAR SONG
“He is gone to the desert land
I can see the shining mane
Of his horse on the distant plain,
As he rides with his Kossak band!
“Come back, rebellious one!
Let thy proud heart relent;
Come back to my tall, white tent,
Come back, my only son!
“Thy hand in freedom shall
Cast thy hawks, when morning breaks,
On the swans of the Seven Lakes,
On the lakes of Karajal.
“I will give thee leave to stray
And pasture thy hunting steeds
In the long grass and the reeds
Of the meadows of Karaday.
“I will give thee my coat of mail,
Of softest leather made,
With choicest steel inlaid;
Will not all this prevail?”