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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


II. Unacknowledged and Uncollected Translations. Fontenay

By Guillaume Amfrye de Chaulieu

O AMIABLE solitude,

Sojourn of silence and of peace!

Asylum where forever cease

All tumult and inquietude!

I, who have chanted many a time

To tender accents of my lyre

All that one suffers from the fire

Of love and beauty in its prime,—

Shall I, whose gratitude requites

All blessing I from thee receive,—

Shall I, unsung, in silence leave

Thy benefactions and delights?

Thou bringest back my youthful dream;

Calmest my agitated breast,

And of my idleness and rest

Makest a happiness extreme.

Amid these hamlets and these woods

Again do I begin to live,

And to the winds all memory give

Of sorrows and solicitudes.

What smiling pictures and serene

Each day reveals to sight and sense,

Of treasures with which Providence

Embellishes this rural scene!

How sweet it is in yonder glade

To see, when noonday burns the plain,

The flocks around the shepherd swain

Reposing in the elm-tree’s shade!

To hear at eve our flageolets

Answered by all the hills around,

And all the villages resound

With hautbois and with canzonets!

Alas! these peaceful days, perforce,

With too great swiftness onward press;

My indolence and idleness

Are powerless to suspend their course.

Old age comes stealing on apace;

And cruel Death shall soon or late

Execute the decree of fate

That gives me to him without grace.

O Fontenay! forever dear!

Where first I saw the light of day,

I soon from life shall steal away

To sleep with my forefathers here.

Ye Muses, that have nourished me

In this delightful spot of earth;

Beautiful trees, that saw my birth,

Erelong ye too my death shall see!

Meanwhile let me in patience wait

Beneath thy shadowy woods, nor grieve

That I so soon their shade must leave

For that dark manor desolate,

Whither not one shall follow me

Of all these trees that my own hand

Hath planted, and for pastime planned,

Saving alone the cypress-tree!