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TO AN OLD DANISH SONG-BOOK. WELCOME, my old friend,
Thou recallest homes Welcome to a foreign fireside,
Where thy songs of love and friendship While the sullen gales of autumn Made the gloomy Northern winter Shake the windows.
Bright as summer. The ungrateful world
Once some ancient Scald, Has, it seems, dealt harshly with thee, In his bleak, ancestral Iceland, Since, beneath the skies of Denmark, Chanted staves of these old ballads First I met thee.
To the Vikings.
Once in Elsinore,
Sang these ditties.
Once Prince Frederick's Guard Yellow are thy time-worn pages,
Sang them in their smoky barracks ;As the russet, rain-molested
Suddenly the English cannon Leaves of autumn.
Joined the chorus ! Thou art stained with wine
Peasants in the field, Scattered from hilarious goblets, Sailors on the roaring ocean, As the leaves with the libations
Students, tradesmen, pale mechanics, Of Olympus.
All have sung them. Yet dost thou recall
Thou hast been their friend; Days departed, half-forgotten,
They, alas, have left thee friendless! When in dreamy youth I wandered Yet at least by one warm fireside By the Baltic,
Art thou welcome. When I paused to hear
And, as swallows build The old ballad of King Christian In these wide, old-fashioned chimneys, Shouted from suburban taverns
So thy twittering songs shall nestle In the twilight.
In my bosom, — Thou recallest bards,
Quiet, close, and warm, Who, in solitary chambers,
Sheltered from all molestation, And with hearts by passion wasted, And recalling by their voices Wrote thy pages.
| Youth and travel.
AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY.
While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
A funeral train.
The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell ;
Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.
WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID. * VOGELWEID the Minnesinger,
They renewed the War of Wartburg, When he left this world of ours, Which the bard had fought before. Laid his body in the cloister,
There they sang their merry carols, Under Würtzburg's minster towers.
Sang their lauds on every side ; And he gave the monks his treasures, And the name their voices uttered
Gave them all with this behest : Was the name of Vogelweid. They should feed the birds at noontide
Till at length the portly abbot Daily on his place of rest;
Murmured, “Why this waste of food Saying, “From these wandering minstrels Be it changed to loaves henceforward I have learned the art of song ;
For our fasting brotherhood." Let me now repay the lessons
Then in vain o'er tower and turret, They have taught so well and long."
Foam the walls and woodland nests, Thus the bard of love departed; When the minster bell rang noontide, And, fulfilling his desire,
Gathered the unwelcome guests. On his tomb the birds were feasted
Then in vain, with cries discordant, By the children of the choir.
Clamorous round the Gothic spire, Day by day, o'er tower and turret, Screamed the feathered Minnesingers In foul weather and in fair,
For the children of the choir. Day by day, in vaster numbers,
Time has long effaced the inscriptions Flocked the poets of the air.
On the cloister's funeral stones, On the tree whose heavy branches And tradition only tells us Overshadowed all the place,
Where repose the poet's bones, On the pavement, on the tombstone,
But around the vast cathedral, On the poet's sculptured face,
| By sweet echoes multiplied, On the cross-bars of each window, Still the birds repeat the legend, On the lintel of each door,
And the name of Vogelweid.
* Walter von der Vogelweid, or Bird-Meadow, was one of the principal Minnesingers of the thirteenth century. He triumphed over Heinrich von Ofterdingen in that poetic contest at Wartburg Castle, known in literary history as the “War of Wartburg."
THE DAY IS DONE.
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet, From an eagle in his flight.
Whose songs gushed from his heart, I see the lights of the village
As showers from the clouds of summer, Gleam through the rain and the mist, Or tears from the eyelids start; And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
Who, through long days of labour,
And nights devoid of ease,
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet As the mist resembles the rain.
The restless pulse of care, Come, read to me some poem,
| And come like the benediction Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
| The poem of thy choice, Not from the grand old masters,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet Not from the bards sublime,
The beauty of thy voice. Whose distant footsteps echo
And the night shall be filled with music, Through the corridors of Time.
And the cares that infest the day, Por, like strains of martial music, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
Their mighty thoughts suggest 1 And as silently steal away.
THE ARROW AND THE SONG. I shot an arrow into the air, ! For who has sight so keen and strong, It fell to earth, I knew pot where; That it can follow the flight of song? Por, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Long, long afterward, in an oak Could not follow it in its flight.
I found the arrow, still unbroke; I breathed a song into the air, | And the song, from beginning to end, It fell to earth, I knew not where ; T I found again in the heart of a friend.
SEA-WEED. WHEN descends on the Atlantic
From Bermuda's reefs ; from edges The gigantic
Of sunken ledges, Storm-wind of the equinox,
In some far-off, bright Azore; Landward in his wrath he scourges From Babama, and the dashing, The toiling surges,
Silver-flashing Laden with sea-weed from the rocks: 1 Surges of San Salvador;
From the tumbling surf, that buries
The Orkneyan skerries,
On the shifting
Of sandy beaches,
Strike the ocean
In its vastness,
From the far-off isles enchanted,
Heaven has planted
That for ever
On the shifting
They, like hoarded
INSCRIPTION FOR AN ANTIQUE PITCHER.
COME, old friend! sit down and listen! These are ancient ethnic revels,
From the pitcher placed between us, Of a faith long since forsaken ; How the waters laugh and glisten Now the Satyrs, changed to devils, In the head of old Silenus !
Frighten mortals wine-o'ertaken. Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Now to rivulets from the mountains Led by his inebriate Satyrs;
Point the rods of fortune-tellers; On his breast his head is sunken, Youth perpetual dwells in fountains, – Vacantly he leers and chatters.
Not in flasks, and casks and cellars. Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow; Claudius, though he sang of flagons Ivy crowns that brow supernal
And huge flagons filled with Rhenish, As the forehead of Apollo,
From that fiery blood of dragons And possessing youth eternal.
Never would his own replenish. Round about him, fair Bacchantes, Even Redi, though he chaunted
Bearing cymbals, flutes, and thyrses, Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys, Wild from Naxian groves, or Zante's Never drank the wine he vaunted
Vineyards, sing delirious verses. In his dithyrambic sallies. Thus he won, through all the nations, Then with water fill the pitcher
Bloodless victories, and the farmer Wreathed about with classic fables; Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Ne'er Falernian threw a richer Vines for banners, ploughs for armour. Light upon Lucullus' tables. Judged by no o'er-zealous rigour, Come, old friend, sit down and listen !
Much this mystic throng expresses : As it passes thus between us, Bacchus was the type of vigour, | How its wavelets laugh and glisten And Silenus of excesses.
In the head of old Silenus !
THE OLD CLOCK ON THE STAIRS.
[L'éternité est une pendule, dont le balancier dit et redit sans cesse ces deux mots seulement, dans le silence des tombeaux: “ Toujours ! jamais ! Jamais ! toujours"JACQUES BRIDAINE)
SOMEWHAT back from the village street But, like the skeleton at the feast, Stands the old-fashioned country-seat; That warning timepiece never ceased, Across its antique portico
“ For ever--never ! Tall poplar trees their shadows throw,
Never-for ever !"
There groups of merry children played, “For ever-never!
There youths and maideps dreaming
strayed ; Never-for ever!"
O precious hours! O golden prime, Halfway up the stairs it stands,
An affluence of love and time ! And points and beckons with its hands | Even as a miser counts his gold, From its case of massive oak,
Those hours the ancient timepiece told, Like a monk, who, under his cloak,
“For ever- never ! Crosses himself, and sighs, alas !
Never--for ever!” With sorrowful voice to all who pass, “For ever--never !
From that chamber, clothed in white, Never- for ever !"
The bride came forth on her wedding night ;
There, in that silent room below, By day its voice is low and light; The dead lay in his shroud of snow; But in the silent dead of night,
And in the hush that followed the prayer, Distinct as a passing footstep's fall, Was heard the old clock on the stair,It echoes along the vacant ball,
“For ever-never ! Along the ceiling, along the floor,
Never-for ever!” And seems to say at each chamber-door,“For ever - never !
| All are scattered now and fied,
Some are married, some are dead;
And when I ask, with throbs of pain, Through days of sorrow and of mirth, "Ah ! when shall they all meet again ?" Through days of death and days of birth, As in the days long since gone by, Through every swift vicissitude
The ancient timepiece makes reply, Of changeful time, unchanged it has “For ever--never ! stood,
Never-for ever !" And as if, like God, it all things saw,
Never here, for ever there, It calmly repeats those words of awe, “For ever-never !
Where all parting, pain and care,
And death and time shall disappear,Never-for ever!”
For ever there, but never here ! In that mansion used to be
The horologe of Eternity Free-hearted Hospitality;
Sayeth this incessantly, His great fires up the chimney roared ;
“For ever-never ! The stranger feasted at bis board ;
Never-for ever !"