Gone is the long, long winter night;
Look, my beloved one!
How glorious, through his depths of light,
Rolls the majestic sun!
The willows, waked from winter’s death,
Give out a fragrance like thy breath—
The summer is begun!
Ay, ’tis the long bright summer day:
Hark, to that mighty crash!
The loosened ice-ridge breaks away—
The smitten waters flash.
Seaward the glittering mountain rides,
While, down its green translucent sides,
The foamy torrents dash.
See, love, my boat is moored for thee,
By ocean’s weedy floor—
The petrel does not skim the sea
More swiftly than my oar.
We’ll go, where, on the rocky isles,
Her eggs the screaming sea-fowl piles
Beside the pebbly shore.
Or, bide thou where the poppy blows,
With wind-flowers frail and fair,
While I, upon his isle of snows,
Seek and defy the bear.
Fierce though he be, and huge of frame,
This arm his savage strength shall tame,
And drag him from his lair.
When crimson sky and flamy cloud
Bespeak the summer o’er,
And the dead valleys wear a shroud
Of snows that melt no more,
I’ll build of ice thy winter home,
With glistening walls and glassy dome,
And spread with skins the floor.
The white fox by thy couch shall play;
And, from the frozen skies,
The meteors of a mimic day
Shall flash upon thine eyes.
And I—for such thy vow—meanwhile
Shall hear thy voice and see thy smile,
Till that long midnight flies.
Beneath the waning moon I walk at night,
And muse on human life—for all around
Are dim uncertain shapes that cheat the sight,
And pitfalls lurk in shade along the ground,
And broken gleams of brightness, here and there,
Glance through, and leave unwarmed the death-like air.
The trampled earth returns a sound of fear—
A hollow sound, as if I walked on tombs!
And lights, that tell of cheerful homes, appear
Far off, and die like hope amid the glooms.
A mournful wind across the landscape flies,
And the wide atmosphere is full of sighs.
And I, with faltering footsteps, journey on,
Watching the stars that roll the hours away,
Till the faint light that guides me now is gone,
And, like another life, the glorious day
Shall open o’er me from the empyreal height,
With warmth, and certainty, and boundless light.
* * * * *
* * * * *
VERSION OF A FRAGMENT OF SIMONIDES.
The night winds howled—the billows dashed
Against the tossing chest;
And Danae to her broken heart
Her slumbering infant pressed.