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I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song ?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke ;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain, With banners, by great gales incessant fanned, Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand, And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain !
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold ; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain.
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o’erhanging eaves ;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended ;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves ;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves !
Tuscan, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,
With thoughtful pace, and sad, majestic eyes,
Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul arise,
Like Farinata from his fiery tomb,
Thy sacred song is like the trump of doom ;
Yet in thy heart what human sympathies,
What soft compassion glows, as in the skies
The tender stars their clouded lamps relume !
Methinks I see thee stand, with pallid cheeks,
By Fra Hilario in his diocese,
As up the convent-walls, in golden streaks,
The ascending sunbeams mark the day's decrease ;
And, as he asks what there the stranger seeks,
Thy voice along the cloister whispers, “Peace !”
(1) Charlemagne may be called by preeminence the monarch of farmers. According to the German tradition, in seasons of great abundance his spirit crosses the Rhine on a golden bridge at Bingen, and blesses the cornfields and the vineyards. During his lifetime he did not disdain, says Montesquieu, “to sell the eggs from the farm-yards of his domains, and the superfluous vegetables of his gardens, while he distributed among his people the wealth of the Lombards and the immense treasures of the Huns."
Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,
Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
Like a fair lady at her casement, shines
The evening star, the star of love and rest !
And then anon she doth herself divest
Of all her radiant garments, and reclines
Behind the sombre screen of yonder pines,
With slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed.
O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus !
My morning and my evening star of love !
My best and gentlest lady ! even thus,
As that fair planet in the sky above,
Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night,
And from thy darkened window fades the light.
O HEMLOCK-TREE! O hemlock-tree ! how faithful are thy branches !
Green not alone in summer time,
But in the winter's frost and rime ! O hemlock-tree! ( hemlock-tree ! how faithful are thy branches !
O maiden fair ! O maiden fair ! how faithless is thy bosom!
To love me in prosperity,
And leave me in adversity !
O maiden fair! O maiden fair ! how faithless is thy bosom!
The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak’st for thine example !
So long as summer laughs she sings,
But in the autumn spreads her wings. The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak’st for thine example !
The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood !
It flows so long as falls the rain,
In drought its springs soon dry again. The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood !
FROM THE LOW GERMAN OF SIMON DACH
ANNIE of Tharaw, my true love of old,
She is my life, and my goods, and my gold.
Annie of Tharaw, her heart once again
To me has surrendered in joy and in pain.