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Look all around thee! How the spring advances !
New life is playing through the gay green trees ;
See how, in yonder bower, the light leaf dances
To the bird's tread, and to the quivering breeze!
llow every blossom in the sunlight glances !
The winter frost to his dark cavern flees,
And earth, warm-wakened, feels through every vein
The kindly influence of the vernal rain.
Now silvery streamlets, from the mountains stealing,
Dance joyously the verdant vales along;
Cold fear no more the songster's voice is sealing;
Down in the thick dark grove is heard his song ;
And, all their bright and lovely hues revealing,
A thousand plants the field and forest throng;
Light comes upon the earth in radiant showers,
And mingling rainbows play among the flowers.
Translation of C. T. Brooks.
'Tis sweet, in the green spring,
To gaze upon the wakening fields around;
Birds in thicket sing,
Winds whisper, waters prattle from the ground;
A thousand odors rise,
Breathed up from blossoms of a thousand dyes.
Shadowy, and close, and cool,
The pine and poplar keep their quiet nook ;
For ever fresh and full,
Shines at their feet the thirst-inviting brook ;
And the soft herbage seems
Spread for a place of banquets and of dreams.
Thou, who alone art fair,
And whom alone I love, art far away:
Unless thy smile be there,
It makes me sad to see the earth so gay :
I care not if the train
Of leaves, and flowers, and zephyrs go again ! Translation of W. C. BRYANT. ESTEVAN MANUEL DE VILLEGAS, 1595-1669.
THE AWAKENING YEAR.
The blue-birds and the violets
Are with us once again, And promises of summer spot
The hill-side and the plain.
The clouds along the mountain-tops
Are riding on the breeze,
Their trailing azure trains of mist
Are tangled in the trees.
The snow-drifts, which have lain so long,
Haunting the hidden nooks,
Like guilty ghosts have slipped away,
Unseen, into the brooks.
The streams are fed with generous rain,
They drink the wayside springs, And flutter down from crag to crag,
Upon their foamy wings.
Through all the long wet nights they brawl,
By mountain-homes remote,
Till woodmen in their sleep behold
Their ample rafts afloat.
The lazy wheel that hung so dry
Above the idle stream,
Whirls wildly in the misty dark,
And through the miller's dream.
Loud torrent unto torrent calls,
Till at the mountain's feet Flashing afar their spectral light,
The noisy waters meet.
They meet, and through the lowlands sweep,
Toward briny bay and lake, Proclaiming to the distant towns
“ The country is awake !"
Winter is past; the heart of Nature warms
Beneath the wreck of unresisted storms;
Doubtful at first, suspected more than seen,
The southern slopes are fringed with tender green ;
On sheltered banks, beneath the Iripping eaves,
Spring's earliest nurslings spread their glowing leaves,
Bright with the hues from wider pictures won,
White, azure, golden-drift, or sky, or sun:
The snowdrop, bearing on her radiant breast
The frozen trophy torn from winter's crest ;
The violet, gazing on the arch of blue
Till her own iris wears its deepened hue;
The spendthrift crocus, bursting through the mold,
Naked and shivering, with his cup of gold.
Swelled with new life, the darkening elm on high
Prints her thick buds against the spotted sky;
On all her boughs the stately chestnut cleaves
The gummy shroud that wraps her embryo leaves ;
The house-fly, stealing from his narrow grave,
Drugged with the opiate that November gave,
Beats with faint wing against the snowy pane,
Or crawls tenacious o'er its lucid plain ;
From shaded chinks of lichen-crusted walls
In languid curves the gliding serpent crawls;
The bog's green harper, thawing from his sleep
Twangs a hoarse note, and tries a shortened leap.
On floating rails that face the softening noons
The still, shy turtles range their dark platoons,
Or toiling, aimless, o'er the mellowing fields,
Trail through the grass their tesselated shields.
At last young April, ever frail and fair,
Wooed by her playmate with the golden hair,
Chased to the margin of receding floods,
O'er the soft meadows starred with opening buds,
In tears and blushes sighs herself away,
And hides her cheek beneath the flowers of May.
FROM THE ITALIAN OF PETRARCH.
The soft west wind, returning, brings again
Its lovely family of herbs and flowers ;
Progne's gay notes, and Philomela's strain
Vary the dance of spring-tide's rosy hours;
And joyously o'er every field and plain,
Glows the bright smile that greets them from above,
And the warm spirit of reviving love
Breathes in the air and murmurs from the main.
But tears and sorrowing sighs, which gushingly
Pour from the secret chambers of my heart,
Are all that spring returning brings to me;
And in the modest smile, or glance of art,
The song of birds, the bloon of heath and tree,
A desert's rugged tract and savage forms I see.
Translation of G. W. GREENE.
FRANCESCO PETRARCA, 1304-1374
THE morning song of Bellman, commencing, “Up, Ama
ryllis !" is one of the most celebrated of the lyrical poems of Sweden. We are told that nothing can exceed the enthusiasm with which it is sung in that country by high and low, old and young, alike. The translation inserted in the ensuing pages has been taken from the interesting work of the Howitts, on the “ Literature of Northern Europe."
But who the melodies of morn can tell ?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side ;
The lowing herd, the sheepfold's simple bell;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean tide ;
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
Ind the full choir that wakes the universal grove