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Life's endless toil and endeavour; "And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labour,
And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice.
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY.
The day is ending,
Through clouds like ashes
The snow recommences;
While through the meadows.
The bell is pealing,
Shadows are trailing,
And tolling within
TO AN OLD DANISH SONG BOOK.
Welcome, my old friend,
The ungrateful world
There are marks of age,
Soiled and dull thou art;
Thou art stained with wine
Yet dost thou recall
When I paused to hear
Thou recallest bards,
Thou recallest homes
Once some ancient Scald,
Once in Elsinore,
Once Prince Frederick's Guard
Peasants in the field,
Thou hast been their friend;
And, as swallows build
Quiet, close, and warm,
WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID.
VogELwBiD the Minnesinger,
Laid his body in the cloister,
And he gave the monks his treasures,
They should feed the birds at noontide
Saying, "From these wandering minstrels
I have learned the art of song; Let me now repay the lessons
They have taught so well and long."
Thus the hard of love departed;
And, fulfilling his desire,
By the children of the choir.
Day by day, o'er tower and turret,
In foul weather and in fair, Day by day, in vaster numbers,
Flocked the poets of the air.
On the tree whose heavy branches
Overshadowed all the place,
On the poet's sculptured face,
On the cross-bars of each window,
On the lintel of each door.
Which the bard had fought before.
There they sang their merry carols,
Sang their lauds on every side; And the name their voices uttered
Was the name of Vogelweid.
Till at length the portly abbot
Be it changed to loaves henceforward
Then in vain o'er tower and turret,
From the walls and woodland nests, When the minster bells rang noontide,
Gathered the unwelcome guests.
Then in vain, with cries discordant,
Clamorous round the Gothic spire, Screamed the feathered Minnesingers
For the children of the choir.
Time has long effaced the inscriptions
On the cloister's funeral stones, And tradition only tells us
Where repose the poet's bones.
But around the vast cathedral,
Still the birds repeat the legend,
INSCRIPTION FOR AN ANTIQUE PITCHER.
Come, old friend, sit down and listen!
From the pitcher, placed between us, How the waters laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!
Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Led by his inebriate Satyrs; On his breast his head is sunken,
Vacantly he leers and chatters.
Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;
Ivy crowns that brow supernal As the forehead of Apollo,
And possessing youth eternal.
Round about him, fair Bacchantes,
Wild from Naxian groves, or Zante's
Thus he won, through all the nations,
Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Judged by no o'erzealous rigour,
Bacchus was the type of vigour,
These are ancient ethnic revels
Now the Satyrs, changed to devils,
Now to rivulets from the mountains
Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,—
Claudius, though he sang of flagons