In spring time the Kydonian
quinces, watered by running streams,
there where the maiden nymphs have
their secret garden, and grapes that grow
round in shade of the tendriled vine,
Now in this season for me
there is no rest from love.
Out of the hard bright sky,
a Thracian north wind blowing
with searing rages and hurt—dark,
pitiless, sent by Aphrodite—Love
rocks and tosses my heart.
Let us gather, let us gather the rose in the morning of life;
at least breathe the flowers of fleeting Springs;
let us abandon our hearts to chaste pleasures;
let us love without limit, O my only friend!
When the boatman beaten by angry waves
sees his frail bark threatened by shipwreck,
he turns his glance to the shores he has left
and regrets too late the land’s leisure.
Ah! how he then wishes he had never forsaken his country or his gods,
passing obscure days without danger or fame
beneath the roof of his fathers near the beloved objects
that are present in his memory!
So man, bent beneath the weight of years,
weeps for his sweet Spring that cannot return.
,,Ah! give me back, he says, those hours I profaned!
O gods! I forgot to enjoy them in their season.’’
He speaks; death replies; and those gods to whom he prays,
pushing him into the grave without relenting,
do not let him stoop again to pick up those flowers
which he has not known how to gather.
O my beloved, let us love one another!
And let us laugh at the cares that cradle mortal men.
For the foolish lure of empty smoke
half their days, alas!
Are used up on neglect of the real wealth.
Let us not envy their sterile pride;
let us leave far-off hopes to the masters of men!
For us, uncertain of our hour,
let us hasten to empty life’s cup
while it is in our hands.
Whether the bays crown us and our names
are inscribed on marble or brass in the bloody annals of proud Bellona;
or whether love adorns our humble brows
with the simple flowers harvested by beauty,
we shall all be cast away on the same shore:
at the moment of shipwreck what does it matter
whether we have cleft the air on a famous ship
or timidly skirted the sea-shore,
the sole traveler on a light bark ?
Alphonse de Lamartine
The spring has come!
Over nameless mountains
The morning mist.
The dew falls drip-drop:
Would I could dip myself here
And wash away the world.
Even in the spring mists
One hears the sound of water
Trickling through the rocks.
In the tranquil sun of spring
A lark soars singing;
Sad is my burdened heart,
Thoughtful and alone…
But now, though I am told his royal palace towered here,
And they say here rose its lofty halls,
Only the spring weeds grow luxuriantly
And the spring sun is dimmed with mists.
As I see these ruins of the mighty palace
My heart is heavy with sorrows!