Frederic Henry Hedge.

Metrical translations and poems online

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" Welcome, thou maiden fair,

And welcome thou, my trusty smith ;

Make me a wreath, I pray thee,
For my sweet bride to wear."

And when the costly wreath was wrought,

And in rich brilliance shone,
Helena, filled with sadness, thought,
As on her arm she hung it

While seated all alone :

" Ah, happy she, upon whose brow

This brilliant wreath shall shine !
Ah, should that knight on me bestow
A wreath of roses only,

What joy would then be mine ! "

Ere long returned the gallant knight,

And well the wreath he scanned :
" A ring with sparkling diamonds bright,
My trusty goldsmith, make me
For my fair maiden s hand."

And when the costly ring was wrought,

With many a brilliant stone,
Helena, rilled with saddest thought,
Half drew it on her finger

While seated all alone :

74 HCranslations?

" Ah, happy she, whose finger fair

With this bright ring shall shine !
If but one curl of his dear hair
That gallant knight should give me,
What joy would then be mine ! "

Again the knight returned, and now

The ring likewise he scanned;
" Ah, well, my trusty smith, hast thou

These bright adornments fashioned
For that dear head and hand.

"Yet how they suit, that I may see,

Prithee, fair maiden, now
Come hither, let me try on thee
These jewels for my darling,
She is as fair as thou."

It was a Sunday morning fair,

And therefore this sweet maid
Was for the day with reverent care,
The church-bells call obeying,
All festally arrayed.

She came with lovely shame aglow
Before the knight to stand ;

He placed the wreath upon her brow,

The ring upon her finger,
And then he took her hand :


" Helena sweet, Helena fair,

The jest aside be laid ;
Thou art the bride, of all most dear,
For whom this golden chaplet,

For whom the ring was made.

" Mid gold, and pearls, and jewels fine,

Thy years have passed till now ;
And this to thee shall be the sign
That thou, in highest honor,
Through life with me shalt go."



N the meadows, on the forest
With the dawn of morning gray,
Spray from Eden s founts thou pour-


Soft, refreshing Dew of May.
All that makes Spring s fragrant bowers
Sanctuaries of delight,
Tender leaves and blooming flowers,
Odors fine, declare thy might.

Every shell this Dew that drinketh
Straightway lovely pearls adorn,


When within the oak it sinketh
Thence the honey-bees are born.
And the bird that upward soaring
Dips in dew its slender bill
Learns the songs, that then outpouring,
Cause the solemn woods to thrill.

Maidens wash their virgin faces
In the Dew from May-bells white,
With it bathe their golden tresses
Till they glow with heaven s light.
To the eye bedimmed with weeping
Soothing sweet the Dew-drops are,
As it marks, a kind watch keeping,
Drenched in Dew, the morning star.

Now on me be thou descending,
O thou balm for every pain,
Rest to weary eyelids lending,
Let my heart not thirst in vain !
Give me youth my joys to lengthen,
Heavenly visions bring anew,
Still my upward glances strengthen,
Soft, refreshing morning Dew !




HE leaves are floating downward,
The yellowing branches wave,
Ah ! all things fair and lovely
Sink fading to the grave !

Far up on the tips of the forest
Is gleaming the sun s pale ray,

It might be the farewell kisses
Of summer fading away.

And I for very yearning

The tears would fain flow free,

This picture brings back the hour
That parted thee and me.

I could not choose but leave thee
And knew that thou soon must die :

Thou wast the perishing forest,
The passing summer was I.




HE green of Spring s fresh bowers
Has tried and tried in vain
To turn itself to flowers,
To gold and crimson sheen.

A web embroidered over
With gold and red was seen,
But still, beneath the cover,
There strove the dusky green.

That for which Spring has striven
In vain, with quickening breath,
Has been to Autumn given
With chilly air of death.

No scattered flower-cups blowing,
No blossoms gold-bedight,
But all the woods are glowing
And every leaf is bright.

Yet when the chill blast driveth,
Their splendor falls away,
For where no green surviveth
The flowers must decay.




HE Spring laughs out on each green

height ;

Before her lies the earth, as bright
As if in sooth a poet s dreaming
Had ceased to be mere idle seeming.

While thus creative on the earth

The Sunlight gives to Being birth,

The heart of man, each flower is turning

Above where holy light is burning.

When evening paints the crimson dye,
Wherein the sun must buried lie,
Contented closes every blossom,
And yearning ceases in the bosom.

From morning to the close of day,
A struggle marks the sun s bright way,
A struggle, forming fresh, dissolving,
From light pure beauty still evolving.

The sun is God s own champion bold,
Whose crest on azure field is gold,
And for the glorious work he. s doing
Each spring his strength is aye renewing.

8o 2Dran0lation0

The sun by day, the moon by night,
Must each in turn maintain its might ;
The sun paints red the rose s brightness,
The moon reveals the lily s whiteness.

A sky of sapphire arches o er
A nuptial chamber, green its floor,
The bridal rose her charms beholding
In the clear mirror there unfolding.

The flush of morning dyes her dress,
The dew begems her loveliness,
The morning wind, most bold of wooers,
Beneath her veil soft kisses showers.

The Spring proclaims high festival,
And straight appear the flowers all ;
For girls the roses blush in beauty,
For boys the jasmine flowers do duty.

The violet hides with modesty,
But still sought out it fain would be ;
The rose blooms forth, a glowing flower,
How could she hope concealed to cower !

Of Paradise the portals fair

Next open in the morning air ;

To earth from out the East come hasting

Sweet odors that the Blest are tasting.


Thus Eden s bowers are left alone,
To earth their denizens have flown,
Where soft the Angel-host reposes
In lily-cups and hearts of roses.

Now Sovereign Spring with gentle breath
Stirs life to love, and moves e en death ;
The rugged rocks would fain be feeling
The clasping ivy o er them stealing.

Ah, breath of Spring ! delight of love !
What joy the steadfast heart must prove
To feel its love thus closely clinging
And flowery wreaths around it flinging !

Where Nature s stillness reigns around,
Where only peace and love are found,
Where calm and silent thoughts are brooding,
Ne er let harsh quarrels be intruding.

They will but lead the mind away,
Confused in desert wastes to stray ;
They cause our every joy to vanish,
And all we love from life they banish.

Such guerdon does the world assign
Unto her own ; I rue each line
Of song, where worldly joy intruded
And praise of love has been excluded.

82 SIDraMations

For love is all the poet s lore,

And love is still our being s core,

Immortal fame attends the verses

Of him whose song love s praise rehearses.

Hence, then, be folly s vain delight !
In heaven avails no earthly might;
Let Heroes, Kings, and Victors know it,
Go, find yourselves another Poet.

For love my songs shall never fail,
I 11 sing as sings the nightingale,
In tones thus from my soul uprising,
My inmost being harmonizing.



gHAT if the bright day has departed,
With all its wealth of spring and

light !

The flowers need not be sad-hearted,
Though dark and starless be the night !

For all the rays that late beamed brightly
Now weave for them the fairest dreams,


And spring-tide s joyance closed up tightly
Within their fragrant cups still beams.

Thus give thy heart to love s own gladness,
Shut all its light within thy breast,
Then, though thy night be dark with sadness,
The Spring will always be thy guest.



SAT and studied late, benighted,
Beside the lamp my room that

And though my eyes were weary,

Still turned the pages o er and o er,

When at my window came a tapping,
I don t believe In spirit-rapping,
And yet so high my window s range
The tapping could not but seem strange.

I peered into the night before me,
Where through the trees the moon shone o er

84 2Dran0latton0

Below the nightingale sang clear,
All else was silent everywhere.

Yet scarce again had I been seated
When straight the tapping was repeated.
I oped the window wide, that free
The tapper s entrance then might be.

And sudden through the window hurrying
Two brown and buzzing sprites came skurry-


May-beetles, who were vexed, t was plain,
That I within doors should remain,

Still o er my books my brain employing,
And not be out with them, enjoying
The beauty of the mild May night,
Its fragrant flowers, its starlight bright.




|O silence all the air is chilled.
Beneath my tread the snow is creak

My breath is mist, my beard frost-
Yet still my onward course I m seeking.

How solemn is the hush around !
Above the firs the moon is shining,
Their branches droop upon the ground,
As longingly toward death inclining.

Frost ! freeze the heart within my breast !
Quench thou its fierce and glowing fire !
That it at last may share the rest
Which doth this winter night inspire.


A wolf, deep in the forest, howls,
And, like a child its mother waking,
Rousing the night from dreams, it prowls,
Its bloody prey from darkness taking.

Across the ice and snow, a storm
Of wind in mad career is roaring,


As fain by raging to grow warm,

Wake, heart ! thy wild complaints outpouring,

Call forth thy dead from out the grave !
Rouse all the woes thy being blasting !
And bid them with the tempest rave,
Grim playfellow, from Norland hasting !



ITH autumn tints the beechen wood

is glowing
Like to a sick man when his death

he neareth

The fleeting crimson on his cheek appeareth,
Sad roses these, from which no songs come

The brook flows onward, scarce we hear it


Adown the vale its quiet waters leading,
As in the death-room friends go softly tread

That life s fast-fading dream they may not


SDranstotons 87

The heart-sick wanderer here may be be

By Nature; her delights are swiftly fleeing,
She knoweth all the gloom that fills his being,
And in her plaint he too is comprehended.



lUTUMN is here, the leaves are

Through forests hoar the blasts wail

free ;

While spring and nightingales were calling
I lingered on the dreary sea.

When gentle light in heaven was glowing
In vain for me its radiance warm,
In ocean s waves no flowers were blowing,
No songs were chanted by the storm.

Thus life s young spring brought sorrow to me,
In youth s delight I had no part;
Now autumn s Farewells shiver through me
And dreams of Death possess my heart.




OVELY was the mild May night,
Small clouds, silvery, tender,
Soared above, lured by delight
In the spring-tide s splendor.

Slumbering lay field and grove,
Mortals all departed,
No one save the moon above
Watched o er streets deserted.

Whispered low the breeze alone,
Breathed o er bud and blossom,
Spring s sweet children every one
Cradled in her bosom.

Secretly the brook stole there,
And the dreams of flowers
Shed a fragrance rich and rare
Through the silent hours.

My postilion was more rude,
Cracked his long whip proudly,
And o er echoing hill and wood
Blew his post-horn loudly.

^Translations 89

Wood and field in rapid flight,
Scarcely seen, were banished,
Like some fleeting dream of night
Peaceful hamlets vanished.

Bowered mid the pride of May
Lay a churchyard gleaming,
Luring wandering thoughts away
From all idle dreaming.

Close against the mountain side
The white wall was leaning
Whence the God, the Crucified,
Gazed in solemn meaning.

Here my driver checked his speed,
Sadly gazed, while slowly
Reining in each eager steed,
Toward the emblem holy.

" Coach and steed alike halt here,
Pray you, do not wonder,
I Ve a comrade lying there
In the cold ground yonder ;

" Better fellow ne er was born,
Ah, sir, such a pity !
None like him upon the horn
Blew so clear a ditty.

90 SCranslations?

" Therefore as he lies at rest,
I here, halting near him,
Blow the tune he liked the best,
For the love I bear him."

Joyful notes soared clear and shrill
Toward the churchyard, flying
To the grave upon the hill
Where his friend was lying.

Back the horn s clear tones again
From the hill came ringing.
Did the dead postilion then
Answer to its singing ?

Onward now o er hill and plain,
Slackening rein, we bounded,
Long within mine ear that strain
From the hill resounded.





ELLENIC Art could never borrow

Of the Redeemer s light one ray,
Its authors named not depths of

But gladly jested life away.

Yet pain, whose bonds it could not sunder,
Hellenic Art can charm to naught,

And this I hold the greatest wonder
That The Antique has ever wrought.



HEN the morn dawns on earth,

Ere the starlight expire
I stand beside the hearth

Kindling the fire.
Bright is the ruddy glare

That the sparks borrow,
But I stand gazing there
Buried in sorrow.


Sudden it comes to me,

Oh, thou deceiver !
All through the night of thee

I have dreamed ever.
Tear after tear falls then,

From mine eyes flowing,
Here comes the day again,

Would it were going !



N Alsace stands Mount Niedeck,

well known in ancient lore,
And there the Giant s castle was

seen in days of yore ;
It now has gone to ruin, the ground lies waste

and bare,

And if you seek for giants you cannot find
them there.

The Giant s little daughter once stepped that

threshold o er ;
No one was there to watch her, she played

before the door,


Then wandered down the mountain into the

vale below,
What might be down below there most curi

ous to know.

With two or three quick paces she left the

woods behind,
And soon she found, near Haslach, abodes of

Trim fields she sees around her, and towns

and hamlets rise ;
A world both new and wondrous appears be

fore her eyes.

And now as at her feet she casts a glance

She sees a peasant ploughing before her on

the ground.
The tiny creature crawls about and looks so

very queer,
And in the sunlight glistens the ploughshare

bright and clear.

" Oh, what a pretty plaything ! I 11 take it

home," cries she ;
And out she spreads her apron, while resting

on her knee.

94 translations:

Up in her hands she gathers all that is mov
ing there,

And heaps it in the apron and ties it up with

And then (we all know children), with merry

leap and shout,
She hastens to the castle, and seeks her father

" I ve such a pretty plaything, O father,

father dear !
We ve nothing half so charming upon our

mountain here."

The old man sat at table, and drank the cool
ing wine ;

He looks upon her kindly, and says : " O
daughter mine,

What s moving in your apron ? what have
you brought to me ?

You re leaping with delight, child ; let s see
what it may be ? "

With care she takes her apron, and spreads

it out, and now
Lifts up the peasant gently, the horses and "

the plough ;

2Dran0lation0 95

And when upon the table so prettily it

She screams aloud with pleasure, and laughs,

and claps her hands.

The old man grows quite serious, and shakes

his aged head :
" Oh, that is not a plaything," t was thus he

gravely said :
"Go put it where you found it, go take it

quickly, go !
The peasant is no Plaything ! how could you,

child, think so ?

" And now without a murmur, go do as I have

For if there were no peasants, what should

we do for bread ?
Why, out of peasant sinews our giant race

was wrought ;
The peasant is no Plaything ! God keep us

from the thought ! "

In Alsace stands Mount Niedeck, well known

in ancient lore,
And there the Giant s castle was seen in days

of yore ;


It now has gone to ruin, the ground lies waste

and bare,
And if you seek for giants you cannot find

them there.



EHOLD, the spring again has waked !

To greet its darling as it may,
In garb of lovely flowers decked,
The earth has donned its best

The joyous birds, inspired by love,
Pour forth rejoicings on the air,

And while with song each fills the grove
It builds its nest with busy care.

And everything lives, loves, and sings,
And aye to praise the spring is fain,

The spring, that all this rapture brings,
But cold and silent I remain.

I grant thee, earth, thy wealth of flowers f
Sing on, ye birds, without control ;

Cranstoiong 97

Grant me ungrudged my gloomy hours,
The grief profound that fills my soul.

For me tis autumn, and the blast

Chill through my fading leaves doth blow,

The glory of my boughs is past,
And in the dust my crown lies low.



OT always this silvery lustre

Has glittered my curls among,
A time, now indeed long vanished,
There was when I too was young.

And when I see thee, O maiden,
So young, and so rosy, and gay,

Then forth from those vanished hours
Old memories come straightway.

More fair than thy mother s mother
No mortal e er greeted my sight,

I gazed as on sunshine upon her,

Enthralled by her young beauty s light.



And once, how it thrilled me with rap

The pressure of her fair hand !
She turned her away to another,

And I to a foreign land.

Long after I took my way homeward,

A wanderer weary and worn,
When lo ! on my native horizon

Another bright sun had been born.

Yes, fairer, O maid, than thy mother
No mortal e er greeted my sight,

I gazed as on sunshine upon her,

Enthralled by her young beauty s light.

I trembled when once her smooth forehead
To me for my kisses she gave ;

She turned her away to another,
I sailed far over the wave.

And now, with its dreams and its sorrows,

My life has gone, I am old;
Returning in heaven shining

A third bright sun I behold.

T is thou, O fairest of maidens,
A fairer ne er greeted my sight,

2Dran0latton0 99

I gaze as on sunshine upon thee,
Enthralled by thy young beauty s light.

In a kiss that was born of compassion
Thy soft lips to mine thou hast pressed,

Thou turn st to another, soon under
The earth, in my grave, I shall rest.



HEN the lambs are lightly springing,
Roses glow and skylarks soar,
Saddest hearts must then be singing,
Must, though fading, bloom once

He whose life is sad and dreary,
Wandering on his way forlorn,
Sings, although his heart is weary,
Songs like those from cloudland borne.

He who weeps away the hours,
Doomed in foreign lands to roam,
Hears from midst the dewy flowers
Ringing sweet the songs of home.

ioo ^Translations?

From the waving grain, the river,
From the heaven s azure sheen
Float melodious airs forever
O er the woods and meadows green.

Hence, old woes ! afar be driven !
Cause this heart no more annoy,
Come, ye messengers from heaven,
Dawn of morning, songs of joy !



WO coffins neath its arches
The cathedral safely keeps,
In one reposes King Othmar,
In the other the minstrel sleeps.

The king once sat victorious
High on his father s throne,
His hand a sword is grasping,
His brows are bound by a crown.

Yet close by the haughty monarch
The minstrel takes his rest,
His faithful harp still lying
Upon his quiet breast.


The castles round are crumbling,
War-cries ring through the land,
The sword it never stirreth
There in the monarch s hand.

Fragrant and gentle breezes
Float all the vale along,
The minstrel s harp is sounding
In everlasting song.



HO scattered these white kerchiefs
That o er the land are seen,
These white and odorous kerchiefs,
All edged with tender green ?

And far above them stretches
The lofty tent of blue ?
And under it spreads the carpet
That covers the field anew ?

Tis He Himself has done it,
From His kind hand all came,
The Host of earth and heaven,
Whose wealth is aye the same.


T is He has spread the table
Within His spacious hall,
He calls all living and breathing
To spring s great festival.

Life streams from every blossom,
From every shrub and tree ;
Each flowercup s a goblet
That s foaming fragrantly.

Ah, list His gracious summons,
" Come all that creep and fly,
Those living on earth s surface,
And those that wave-rocked lie.

" And thou my Heavenward pilgrim,
Here may st thou sated be,
Then sink down, calm and happy,
And kneeling think of Me."




UICK, darting flames throughout the


O er heaven s vault have glimmered,
And, like some fiery pageant, light
Through all the air has shimmered.

There weighed on all things, dark and drear,
A sultriness, a dullness,
The while low thunder drawing near
Foretold the coming coolness.

The rain came dropping, warm and mild,
Like tears, repressed and burning,
The earth drank deep, but all unstilled
Was yet her ardent yearning.

But lo ! the morning flushes fair,
So great a wonder showing,
Bedecked with blossoms everywhere
The earth lies bright and glowing.

A Wonder ! whose has been the might
These sheaths, shy buds arraying,
Who tore them off in one short night,
Such loveliness displaying ?

104 Crantflattons

Ah, hush ! ah, hush ! behold and see
The blossoms timid blushes,
The crimson tint that tenderly
Each fresh and fair cheek flushes !

Ah, hush ! and ask that bridegroom bright,
The Spring, that gallant lover,
Who came to earth upon this night ;
Their wedding feast was over.


APRIL, 1844

ES, Germany is Hamlet ! Lo !

Upon her ramparts every night
There stalks in darkness, grim and


Her buried Freedom s steel-clad Sprite,
Beckons the warder standing there,

Accosts the shrinking doubter, saying :
" They ve dropped fell poison in mine ear,
Draw thou the sword ! no more delaying ! "

He listens, and his blood runs cold ;

The horrid truth at length laid bare
Drives him to be the Avenger bold.

But will he ever really dare ?


He ponders, dreams, but at his need

No strengthening comes, but scruples haunt

Aye for the prompt, courageous deed
The prompt, courageous soul is wanting.

It comes from dawdling overmuch

Lounging and reading, tired to death,
Sloth holds him in its iron clutch,

He s grown too "fat and scant of breath."
He spun his learned yarn alway,

His best of action was but thinking,
Too long in Wittenberg his stay,

Employed with lectures or with drinking.

And so his resolution fails,

He madness feigns, thus gaining time,
Soliloquizes too, and rails,

And curses " time " and " spite " in rhyme.
A pantomime must help him, too !

And when he does fight, somewhat later
Why, then Polonius Kotzebue

Receives the stab, and not the traitor.

And thus he bears thus dreamily
With secret self-contempt his pain.

He lets them send him o er the sea
And sharp in speech comes home again ;

io6 ^Translations

Jeers right and left, his hints are dark,
Talks of a "king of shreds and patches,"

But for a deed ? God save the mark !
No deed from all this talk he hatches.

At last he gets the purpose lacked

And grasps the sword to keep his vow ;
But ah ! tis in the final Act,

And only serves to lay him low.
With those his hate has overcome,

Scourging at last their black demerits,
He dies, and then with tuck of drum

Comes Fortinbras, and all inherits.

Thank God ! we re not yet come to this,

The first four Acts have been played through;
See lest the parallel there is

Be in the fifth Act borne out too.
Early and late we hope and pray :

O Hero, come ! no more delaying,
Gird up your loins, act while you may,

The spectre s urgent call obeying.

Oh, seize the moment, strike to-day !

There still is time, fulfil your part,
Ere with his poisoned rapier s play

A French Laertes find your heart.
Let not a northern army clutch

Your rightful heritage beforehand,


Oh, look to it ! I doubt me much

If this time it will come from Norland.

Resolve, and be fresh courage born !

Enter the lists, make good your boast !
Think on the oath that you have sworn ;

Avenge, avenge your father s ghost !

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Online LibraryFrederic Henry HedgeMetrical translations and poems → online text (page 3 of 4)