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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Sweden: Drottningholm

Autumn Farewell to Drottningholm

By King Charles XV. (1826–1872)

Translated by Mary Howitt

THE GLORIOUS summer sun already leaneth

Towards distant lands, and that resplendent glow

Which, late at eve, flamed upward to the zenith,

No longer now the Norland fields shall know.

And wood and mead, which, in their vernal gladness,

Laughed out to man beneath the azure sky,

Stand wan and sere, and clouds weep tears of sadness,

And even the little birds sit silent by.

Yet still how gratefully my memory treasures

The lovely peace of each sweet summer day,

When heaven itself brought down to earth its pleasures,

And winds their warfare changed to merry play;

When flowers sent up their offering of sweetness,

As incense to the God of day and night,

And lifted to the sun their fair completeness

Obedient to the holy law of light.

But all, alas! on earth is transitory,

And laughter changes soon to sorrow’s tear;

As the green herb, anon, foregoes its glory,

So man advances onward to his bier.

Yet if the faithful heart have kept in clearness

The sunny moments of the passing day,

Still shall they cast amidst autumnal drearness

Of the lost summer a surviving ray.

Thus muse I, as my fond farewell is spoken,

Thou loveliest pearl beside the Mälar coast.

Nor shall sweet memory’s bond ’twixt us be broken,

Where’er my bark on life’s rough sea be tossed!

To thee my heart will yearn when sorrow shroudeth

My world of thought and all is dark as night;

And if thick mist the future overcloudeth,

I will ascend unto the past delight.

Farewell, ye hills and valleys, groves and meadows,

Where Flora scattered all her pomp abroad,

And elves amidst the full moon’s lights and shadows

Traced magic rings in dances on the sward;

Thou shore, reed-garlanded, where softly stringing

His harp at eve the Necken charms the scene;

Thou wood, made musical with wild birds’ singing,

And waters lapsing through the leafy screen.

Farewell, thou starry eve, so oft reflected

In the still waters, where my light bark drove

The downward depth which still my gaze rejected,

Turning instead unto the heaven above;

Have thanks for all the quiet joy supernal,

Which in my heart’s recess by thee was laid,

The whilst thy azure vault of truth eternal

Expanded as a blessing, o’er my head!

Farewell, thou lovely scene! The heart’s deep feeling

Gives forth these accents of my parting song!

Yet thou in memory wilt be sorrow’s healing,

And speed the mournful winter night along;

I ’ll think of thee when autumn fogs are glooming,

O Drottningholm! for still thy sun will shine:

Thou art to me in every season blooming,

And peaceful lilies round thy name entwine!