Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Some might lament that I were cold,

As I, when this sweet day is gone, Which my lost heart, too soon grown old,

Insults with this untimely moan;

They might lament—for I am one Whom men love not,—and yet regret,

Unlike this day, which, when the sun Shall on its stainless glory set, Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

238

WHEN

HEN I have fears that I may cease to be

Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain, Before high-pilèd books, in charact'ry,

Hold like rich garners the full-ripened grain; When I behold, upon the night's starred face,

Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And think that I may never live to trace

Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance; And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!

That I shall never look upon thee more, Never have relish in the faery power

Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

John Keats

239

IN THE SHADOWS

IF

F it must be; if it must be, O God!

That I die young, and make no further moans;
That underneath the unrespective sod,
In unescutcheoned privacy, my bones

Shall crumble soon,—then give me strength to bear
The last convulsive throe of too sweet breath!
I tremble from the edge of life, to dare
The dark and fatal leap, having no faith,
No glorious yearning for the Apocalypse.
But like a child that in the nighttime cries
For light, I cry; forgetting the eclipse
Of knowledge and our human destinies.
O peevish and uncertain soul! obey
The law of life in patience till the Day.

David Gray

240

EPISTLE IN FORM OF A BALLAD TO

HIS FRIENDS 1

1

HAVE

AVE pity, pity, friends, have pity on me,

Thus much at least, may it please you, of your grace! I lie not under hazel or hawthorn-tree

Down in this dungeon ditch, mine exile's place

By leave of God and fortune's foul disgrace. Girls, lovers, glad young folk and newly wed, Jumpers and jugglers, tumbling heel o'er head,

Swift as a dart, and sharp as needle-ware, Throats clear as bells that ring the kine to shed,

Your poor old friend, what, will you leave him there?

Singers that sing at pleasure, lawlessly,

Light, laughing, gay of word and deed, that race And run like folk light-witted as ye be

And have in hand nor current coin nor base,

Ye wait too long, for now he's dying apace. Rhymers of lays and roundels sung and read,

1 Translated by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Ye'll brew him broth too late when he lies dead.

Nor wind nor lightning, sunbeam nor fresh air, May pierce the thick wall's bound where lies his bed; Your

poor old friend, what, will you leave him there?

O noble folk from tithes and taxes free,

Come and behold him in this piteous case, Ye that nor king nor emperor holds in fee,

But only God in heaven; behold his face

Who needs must fast, Sundays and holidays,
Which makes his teeth like rakes; and when he hath fed
With never a cake for banquet but dry bread,

Must drench his bowels with much cold watery fare,
With board nor stool, but low on earth instead;

Your poor old friend, what, will you leave him there?

Princes afore-named, old and young foresaid,
Get me the king's seal and my pardon sped,

And hoist me in some basket up with care:
So swine will help each other ill bested,
For where one squeaks they run in heaps ahead.
Your poor old friend, what, will you leave him there?

François Villon

241 THE EPITAPH IN FORM OF A BALLAD

WHICH VILLON MADE FOR HIMSELF AND HIS COMRADES, EX

1 PECTING TO BE HANGED ALONG WITH THEM

MEN,

TEN, brother men, that after us yet live,

Let not your hearts too hard against us be;
For if some pity of us poor men ye give,

The sooner God shall take of you pity.
Here are we five or six strung up, you see,

1 Translated by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

And here the flesh that all too well we fed
Bit by bit eaten and rotten, rent and shred,

And we the bones grow dust and ash withal;
Let no man laugh at us discomforted,

But pray to God that he forgive us all.

If we call on you, brothers, to forgive,

Ye should not hold our prayer in scorn, though we Were slain by law; ye know that all alive

Have not wit alway to walk righteously;

Make therefore intercession heartily
With him that of a virgin's womb was bred,
That his grace be not as a dry well-head

For us, nor let hell's thunder on us fall;
We are dead, let no man harry or vex us dead,

But pray to God that he forgive us all.

The rain has washed and laundered us all five,

And the sun dried and blackened; yea, perdie, Ravens and pies with beaks that rend and rive

Have dug our eyes out, and plucked off for fee

Our beards and eyebrows; never are we free, Not once, to rest; but here and there still sped, Drive at its wild will by the wind's change led,

More pecked of birds than fruits on garden wall; Men, for God's love, let no gibe here be said,

But pray to God that he forgive us all.

Prince Jesus, that of all art lord and head,
Keep us, that Hell be not our bitter bed;

We have nought to do in such a master's hall.
Be not ye therefore of our fellowhead,
But pray to God that he forgive us all.

François Villon 242

A BARD'S EPITAPH

Is

S there a whim-inspired fool,

Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,

Let him draw near;
And owre this grassy heap sing dool,

And drap a tear.

Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,

O, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,

Here heave a sigh.

Is there a man whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs, himself, life's mad career

Wild as the wave;
Here pause—and, thro' the starting tear,

Survey this grave.

The
poor

inhabitant below
Was quick to learn, and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,

And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,

And stained his name!

Blate: bashful

Dool: grief

Snool: fata

« ÎnapoiContinuă »