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Life's endless toil and endeavour ;
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,
That follows after prayer.
The poem of thy choice,
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,,
And as silently steal away.
AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY.
THE day is ending,
The river dead.
Through clouds like ashes
That glimmer red.
The snow recommences;
The road o'er the plain ;
A funeral train.
The bell is pealing,
To the dismal knell;
Shadows are trailing,
Like a funeral bell.
TO AN OLD DANISH SONG BOOK.
WELCOME, my old friend,
There are marks of age,
Soiled and dull thou art;
Thou art stained with wine
When I paused to hear
Thou recallest bards,
Thou recallest homes
Once some ancient Scald,
Once in Elsinore,
Once Prince Frederick's Guard
Thou hast been their friend;
And, as swallows build
WALTER VON DER VOGELWEID.
VOGELWEID the Minnesinger,
When he left this world of ours,
Under Würtzburg's minster towers.
And he gave the monks his treasures,
Gave them all with this behest :
They should feed the birds at noontide
Daily on his place of rest; 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."
And, fulfilling his desire,
By the children of the choir.
Day by day, o'er tower and turret,
In foul weather and in fair,
Flocked the poets of the air.
Overshadowed all the place,
On the poet's sculptured face,
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
Murmured, “Why this waste of food? Be it changed to loaves henceforward
For our fasting brotherhood.”'
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,
By sweet echoes multiplied, Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid.
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;
Vacantly he leers and chatters.
Ivy crowns that brow supernal As the forehead of Apollo,
And possessing youth eternal. Round about him, fair Bacchantes,
Bearing cymbals, fruits, and thyrses, Wild from Naxian groves, or Zante's
Vineyards, sing delirious verses. Thus he won, through all the nations,
Bloodless victories, and the farmer Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Vines for banners, ploughs for armour.
Judged by no o'erzealous rigour,
Much this mystic throng expresses : Bacchus was the type of vigour,
And Silenus of excesses.
These are ancient ethnic revels
Of a faith long since forsaken; Now the Satyrs, changed to devils,
Frighten mortals wine-o'ertaken. Now to rivulets from the mountains
Point the rods of fortune-tellers; Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,
Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars. Claudius, though he sang of flagons
And huge tankards filled with Rhenish,