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Thee wondrous we may call, –
That such a tiny throat
a note. MARIA TESSELSCHADE VISSCHER (Dutch). Translation
of JOHN BOWRING.
PHILOMELA. HARK! ah, the nightingale ! The tawny-throated ! Hark! from that moonlit cedar what a burst ! What triumph ! hark, — what pain! O wanderer from a Grecian shore, Still - after many years, in distant lands Still nourishing in thy bewildered brain That wild, unquenched, deep-sunken, Old-World
Say, will it never heal ?
Afford no balm ?
Everything did banish moan, Save the nightingale alone. She, poor bird, as all forlorn, Leaned her breast up-till a thorn ; And there sung the dolefull'st ditty That to hear it was great pity. Fie, fie, fie ! now would she cry; Teru, teru, by and by ; That, to hear her so complain, Scarce I could from tears refrain ; For her griefs, so lively shown, Made me think upon mine own. Ah ! (thought I) thou mourn'st in vain; None takes pity on thy pain ; Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee; Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee; King Pandion, he is dead; All thy friends are lapped in lead : All thy fellow-birds do sing, Careless of thy sorrowing! Whilst as fickle Fortune smiled, Thou and I were both beguiled, Every one that flatters thee Is no friend in misery. Words are easy, like the wind;. Faithful friends are hard to find. Every man will be thy friend Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend ; But, if stores of crowns be scant, No man will supply thy want. If that one be prodigal, Bountiful they will him call; And, with such-like flattering, “Pity but he were a king." If he be addict to vice, Quickly him they will entice; But if Fortune once do frown, Then farewell his great renown : They that fawned on him before, Use his company no more. He that is thy friend indeed, He will help thee in thy need ; If thou sorrow, he will weep, If thou wake, he cannot sleep. Thus, of every grief in heart, He with thee doth bear a part. These are certain signs to know Faithful friend from flattering foe.
THE MOTHER NIGHTINGALE.
ADDRESS TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
I HAVE seen a nightingale
For this outrage, the poor bird .
His nimble hand's instinct then taught each Say a thousand mournful things
string To the wind, which, on its wings,
A capering cheerfulness, and made them sing To the Guardian of the sky
To their own dance; now negligently rash Bore her melancholy cry,
He throws his arm, and with a long-drawn dash Bore her tender tears. She spake
Blends all together; then distinctly trips As if her fond heart would break :
From this to that, then quick returning skips, One while in a sad, sweet note,
And snatches this again, and pauses there. Gurgled from her straining throat,
She measures every measure, everywhere She enforced her piteous tale,
Meets art with art; sometimes, as if in doubt Mournful prayer and plaintive wail ; Not perfect yet, and fearing to be out, One while, with the shrill dispute
Trails her plain ditty in one long-spun note, Quite outwearied, she was mute;
Through the sleek passage of her open throat, Then afresh, for her dear brood,
A clear, unwrinkled song ; then doth she point it Her harmonious shrieks renewed.
With tender accents, and severely joint it Now she winged it round and round ; By short diminutives, that being reared Now she skimmed along the ground ; In controverting warbles, evenly shared, Now from bough to bough, in haste,
With her sweet self she wrangles : he, amazed The delighted robber chased,
That from so small a channel should be raised And, alighting in his path, .
The torrent of a voice whose melody Seemed to say, 'twixt grief and wrath, Could melt into such sweet variety, “Give me back, fierce rustic rude,
Strains higher yet, that, tickled with rare art, Give me back my pretty brood,"
The tattling strings, each breathing in his part, And I heard the rustic still
Most kindly do fall out : the grumbling bass Answer, “ That I never will."
In surly groans disdains the treble's grace;
Until his finger (moderator) hides
Hot Mars to the harvest of death's field, and woo
Men's hearts into their hands; this lesson too
She gives them back; her supple breast thrills out Now westward Sol had spent the richest beams Sharp airs, and staggers in a warbling doubt Of noon's high glory, when, hard by the streams Of dallying sweetness, hovers o'er her skill, Of Tiber, on the scene of a green plat,
And folds in waved notes, with a trembling bill, Under protection of an oak, there sat
The pliant series of her slippery song; A sweet lute's-master, in whose gentle airs Then starts she suddenly into a throng He lost the day's heat and his own hot cares. Of short thick sobs, whose thundering volleys float, Close in the covert of the leaves there stood And roll themselves over her lubric throat A nightingale, come from the neighboring wood In panting murmurs, stilled out of her breast; (The sweet inhabitant of each glad tree, That ever-bubbling spring, the sugared nest Their muse, their siren, harmless siren she): Of her delicious soul, that there does lie There stood she listening, and did entertain Bathing in streams of liquid melody; The music's soft report, and mould the same Music's best seed-plot; when in ripened airs In her own murmurs; that whatever mood A golden-headed harvest fairly rears His curious fingers lent, her voice made good. His honey-dropping tops ploughed by her breath The man perceived his rival, and her art; Which there reciprocally laboreth. Disposed to give the light-foot lady sport, In that sweet soil it seems a holy quire, Awakes his lute, and 'gainst the fight to come Sounded to the name of great Apollo's lyre ; Informs it in a sweet præludium
| Whose silver roof rings with the sprightly notes Of closer strains, and e'er the war begin, Of sweet-lipped angel-imps, thatswill their throats He lightly skirmishes on every string
In cream of morning Helicon, and then Charged with a flying touch ; and straightway she Prefer soft anthems to the ears of men, Carves out her dainty voice as readily
To woo them from their beds, still murmuring Into a thousand sweet distinguished tones, That men can sleep while they their matins sing And reckons up in soft divisions
(Most divine service), whose so early lay Quick volumes of wild notes, to let him know, Prevents the eyelids of the blushing day. By that shrill taste, she could do something too. There might you hear her kindle her soft voice
In the close murmur of a sparkling noise ; | Whose trembling murmurs, melting in wild airs,
Of blest variety, attending on
In many a sweet rise, many as sweet a fall) With the cool epode of a graver note ;
| A full-mouthed diapason swallows all. Thus high, thus low, as if her silver throat This done, he lists what she would say to this; Would reach the brazen voice of war's hoarse bird; And she, although her breath's late exercise Her little soul is ravished, and so poured Had dealt too roughly with her tender throat, Into loose ecstasies, that she is placed
Yet summons all her sweet powers for a note. Above herself, music's enthusiast.
Alas ! in vain ! for while (sweet soul) she tries Shame now and anger mixed a double stain To measure all those wild diversities In the musician's face: “Yet, once again, Of chattering strings, by the small size of one Mistress, I come : now reach a strain, my lute, Poor simple voice, raised in a natural tone; Above her mock, or be forever mute.
She fails, and failing grieves, and grieving dies : Or tune a song of victory to me,
She dies, and leaves her life the victor's prize, Or to thyself sing thine own obsequy."
Falling upon his lute : 0, fit to have So said, his hands sprightly as fire he flings, (That lived so sweetly), dead, so sweet a grave! And with a quavering coyness tastes the strings.
FROM "THE PELICAN ISLAND." Doth tune the spheres, and make heaven's self — BIRDS, the free tenants of land, air, and ocean, look higher;
Their forms all symmetry, their motions grace; From this to that, from that to this he flies, In plumage, delicate and beautiful, Feels music's pulse in all her arteries ;
Thick without burden, close as fishes' scales, Caught in a net which there Apollo spreads, Or loose as full-blown poppies to the breeze; His fingers struggle with the vocal threads, | With wings that might have had a soul within Following those little rills, he sinks into
them, A sea of Helicon ; his hand does go
They bore their owners by such sweetenchantment, Those parts of sweetness which with nectar drop, — Birds, small and great, of endless shapes and Softer than that which pants in Hebe's cup.
colors, The humorous strings expound his leamed touch Here flew and perched, there swam and dived at By various glosses ; now they seem to grutch
pleasure ; And murmur in a buzzing din, then jingle Watchful and agile, uttering voices wild In shrill-toned accents striving to be single ; And harsh, yet in accordance with the waves Every smooth turn, every delicious stroke Upon the beach, the winds in caverns moaning, Gives life to some new grace ; thus doth he invoke Or winds and waves abroad upon the water. Sweetness by all her names ; thus, bravely thus Some sought their food among the finny shoals, (fraught with a fury so harmonious)
Swift darting from the clouds, emerging soon The late's light genius now does proudly rise, With slender captives glittering in their beaks ; Heaved on the surges of swoll'n rhapsodies; These in recesses of steep crags constructed Whose flourish (meteor-like) doth curl the air Their eyries inaccessible, and trained With flash of high-born fancies, here and there Their hardy broods to forage in all weathers : Dancing in lofty measures, and anon
Others, more gorgeously apparelled, dwelt Creeps on the soft touch of a tender tone, | Among the woods, on nature's dainties feeding,
Herbs, seeds, and roots; or, ever on the wing, Till, swollen with captures, the unwieldy burden
That life was hatching in their brittle shells. Could hear such concert, and not join in chorus? | Then, from a wild rapacious bird of prey, Not I.
Tamed by the kindly process, she became
Fiercest when stirred by anger to defend them.
Her mate himself the softening power confessed,
Forgot his, sloth, restrained his appetite,
And ranged the sky and fished the stream for her.
heart, And gladdened nature with returning day : The tenderness that makes the vulture mild; - Eager for food, their searching eyes they fixed Yea, half unwillingly his post resigned, On ocean's unrolled volume, from an height When, homesick with the absence of an hour, That brought immensity within their scope; She hurried back, and drove him from her seat Yet with such power of vision looked they down, With pecking bill and cry of fond distress, As though they watched the shell-fish slowly Answered by him with murmurs of delight, gliding
Whose gutturals harsh to her were love's own O'er sunken rocks, or climbing trees of coral. , music. On indefatigable wing upheld,
Then, settling down, like foam upon the wave, Breath, pulse, existence, seemed suspended in White, flickering, effervescent, soon subsiding, them :
Her ruffled pinions smoothly she composed ; They were as pictures painted on the sky; And, while beneath the comfort of her wings, Till suddenly, aslant, away they shot,
Her crowded progeny quite filled the nest, Like meteors changed from stars to gleams of The halcyon sleeps not sounder, when the wind lightning,
Is breathless, and the sea without a curl, And struck upon the deep, where, in wild play, - Nor dreams the halcyon of serener days, Their quarry floundered, unsuspecting harm; Or nights more beautiful with silent stars, With terrible voracity, they plunged
Than, in that hour, the mother pelican, Their heads among the affrighted shoals, and beat When the warm tumults of affection sunk A tempest on the surges with their wings, Into calm sleep, and dreams of what they were, Till flashing clouds of foam and spray concealed - Dreams more delicious than reality. them.
- He sentinel beside her stood, and watched Nimbly they seized and secreted their prey, With jealous eye the raven in the clouds, Alive and wriggling in the elastic net,
And the rank sea-mews wheeling round the cliffs. Which Nature hung beneath their grasping beaks, Woe to the reptile then that ventured nigh i