Far better ’twere to linger still
In this green vale, these flowers to cherish,
And die in peace, an aged rill,
Than thus, a youthful Danube, perish.
From the Portuguese of Semedo.
It is a fearful night; a feeble glare
Streams from the sick moon in the o’erclouded sky;
The ridgy billows, with a mighty cry,
Rush on the foamy beaches wild and bare;
No bark the madness of the waves will dare;
The sailors sleep; the winds are loud and high;
Ah, peerless Laura! for whose love I die,
Who gazes on thy smiles while I despair?
As thus, in bitterness of heart, I cried,
I turned, and saw my Laura, kind and bright,
A messenger of gladness, at my side:
To my poor bark she sprang with footstep light,
And as we furrowed Tago’s heaving tide,
I never saw so beautiful a night.
From the Spanish of Iglesias.
Alexis calls me cruel;
The rifted crags that hold
The gathered ice of winter,
He says, are not more cold.
When even the very blossoms
Around the fountain’s brim,
And forest walks, can witness
The love I bear to him.
I would that I could utter
My feelings without shame;
And tell him how I love him,
Nor wrong my virgin fame.
Alas! to seize the moment
When heart inclines to heart,
And press a suit with passion,
Is not a woman’s part.
If man comes not to gather
The roses where they stand,
They fade among their foliage;
They cannot seek his hand.
From the German of Uhland.
At morn the Count of Greiers before his castle stands;
He sees afar the glory that lights the mountain lands;
The horned crags are shining, and in the shade between
A pleasant Alpine valley lies beautifully green.
“Oh, greenest of the valleys, how shall I come
Thy herdsmen and thy maidens, how happy must they be!
I have gazed upon thee coldly, all lovely as thou art,
But the wish to walk thy pastures now stirs my inmost heart.”
He hears a sound of timbrels, and suddenly appear
A troop of ruddy damsels and herdsmen drawing near;
They reach the castle greensward, and gayly dance across;
The white sleeves flit and glimmer, the wreaths and ribands toss.
The youngest of the maidens, slim as a spray of spring,
She takes the young count’s fingers, and draws him to the ring,
They fling upon his forehead a crown of mountain flowers,
“And ho, young Count of Greiers! this morning thou art ours!”
Then hand in hand departing, with dance and roundelay,
Through hamlet after hamlet, they lead the Count away.
They dance through wood and meadow, they dance across the linn,
Till the mighty Alpine summits have shut the music in.