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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.


Above, upon the Mountains

By Cyprien Despourrins (1698–1759)

Translated by Louisa Stuart Costello

ABOVE, upon the mountains,

A shepherd, full of thought,

Beneath a beech sat musing

On changes time had wrought:

He told to every echo

The story of his care,

And made the rocks acquainted

With love and its despair.

“O light of heart!” he murmured,

“O fickle and unkind!

Is this the cold return

My tenderness should find?

Is this a fit reward

For tenderness like mine?—

Since thou hast sought a sphere

Where rank and riches shine,

“Thou canst not cast a thought

Upon my lowly cot;

And all our former vows

Are in thy pride forgot.

For thee to enter in,

My roof is far too low,

Thy very flocks disdain

With mine to wander now.

“Alas! I have no wealth,

No birth, no noble name,

A simple shepherd youth

Without a hope or claim;

But none of all the train

That now thy favors share

Can bear as I have borne,

Or with my love compare.

“I ’d rather keep my habits,

Though humble and untaught,

Than learn the ways of courts,

With dangerous falsehood fraught;

I ’d rather wear my bonnet,

Though rustic, wild, and worn,

Than flaunt in stately plumes

Of courtiers highly born.

“The riches of the world

Bring only care and pain,

And nobles great and grand

With many a rich domain,

Can scarcely half the pleasures,

With all their art, secure,

That wait upon the shepherd

Who lives content and poor.

“Adieu, thou savage heart!

Thou fair one without love;

I break the chain that bound us,

And thou art free to rove.

But know, when in thy vanity

Thou wanderest alone,

No heart like mine will ever

Adore as I have done.”