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CANZONE V. Nella stagion che 'l ciel rapido inchina. NIGHT BRINGS REPOSE TO OTHERS, BUT NOT TO HIM. In that still season, when the rapid sunDrives down the west, and daylight flies to greetNations that haply wait his kindling flame;In some strange land, alone, her weary feetThe time-worn pilgrim finds, with toil fordone,Yet but the more speeds on her languid frame;Her solitude the same,When night has closed around;Yet has the wanderer foundA deep though short forgetfulness at lastOf every woe, and every labour past.But ah! my grief, that with each moment grows,As fast, and yet more fast,Day urges on, is heaviest at its close. When Phœbus rolls his everlasting wheelsTo give night room; and from encircling wood,Broader and broader yet descends the shade;The labourer arms him for his evening trade,And all the weight his burthen'd heart concealsLightens with glad discourse or descant rude;Then spreads his board with food,Such as the forest hoarTo our first fathers bore,By us disdain'd, yet praised in hall and bower,[Pg 51]But, let who will the cup of joyance pour,I never knew, I will not say of mirth,But of repose, an hour,When Phœbus leaves, and stars salute the earth. Yon shepherd, when the mighty star of dayHe sees descending to its western bed,And the wide Orient all with shade embrown'd,Takes his old crook, and from the fountain head,Green mead, and beechen bower, pursues his way,Calling, with welcome voice, his flocks around;Then far from human sound,Some desert cave he strowsWith leaves and verdant boughs,And lays him down, without a thought, to sleep.Ah, cruel Love!—then dost thou bid me keepMy idle chase, the airy steps pursuingOf her I ever weep,Who flies me still, my endless toil renewing. E'en the rude seaman, in some cave confined,Pillows his head, as daylight quits the scene,On the hard deck, with vilest mat o'erspread;And when the Sun in orient wave sereneBathes his resplendent front, and leaves behindThose antique pillars of his boundless bed;Forgetfulness has shedO'er man, and beast, and flower,Her mild restoring power:But my determined grief finds no repose;And every day but aggravates the woesOf that remorseless flood, that, ten long years,Flowing, yet ever flows,Nor know I what can check its ceaseless tears. Merivale. What time towards the western skiesThe sun with parting radiance flies,And other climes gilds with expected light,Some aged pilgrim dame who straysAlone, fatigued, through pathless ways,Hastens her step, and dreads the approach of nightThen, the day's journey o'er, she'll steepHer sense awhile in grateful sleep;[Pg 52]Forgetting all the pain, and peril past;But I, alas! find no repose,Each sun to me brings added woes,While light's eternal orb rolls from us fast. When the sun's wheels no longer glow,And hills their lengthen'd shadows throw,The hind collects his tools, and carols gay;Then spreads his board with frugal fare,Such as those homely acorns were,Which all revere, yet casting them away,Let those, who pleasure can enjoy,In cheerfulness their hours employ;While I, of all earth's wretches most unblest,Whether the sun fierce darts his beams,Whether the moon more mildly gleams,Taste no delight, no momentary rest! When the swain views the star of dayQuench in the pillowing waves its ray,And scatter darkness o'er the eastern skiesRising, his custom'd crook he takes,The beech-wood, fountain, plain forsakes,As calmly homeward with his flock he hiesRemote from man, then on his bedIn cot, or cave, with fresh leaves spread,He courts soft slumber, and suspense from care,While thou, fell Love, bidst me pursueThat voice, those footsteps which subdueMy soul; yet movest not th' obdurate fair! Lock'd in some bay, to taste reposeOn the hard deck, the sailor throwsHis coarse garb o'er him, when the car of lightGranada, with Marocco leaves,The Pillars famed, Iberia's waves,And the world's hush'd, and all its race, in night.But never will my sorrows cease,Successive days their sum increase,Though just ten annual suns have mark'd my pain;Say, to this bosom's poignant griefWho shall administer relief?Say, who at length shall free me from my chain? [Pg 53]And, since there's comfort in the strain,I see at eve along each plain.And furrow'd hill, the unyoked team return:Why at that hour will no one stayMy sighs, or bear my yoke away?Why bathed in tears must I unceasing mourn?Wretch that I was, to fix my sightFirst on that face with such delight,Till on my thought its charms were strong imprest,Which force shall not efface, nor art,Ere from this frame my soul dispart!Nor know I then if passion's votaries rest. O hasty strain, devoid of worth,Sad as the bard who brought thee forth,Show not thyself, be with the world at strife,From nook to nook indulge thy grief;While thy lorn parent seeks relief,Nursing that amorous flame which feeds his life! Nott.
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