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


To My Brooklet

By Jean-François Ducis (1733–1816)

Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

THOU brooklet, all unknown to song,

Hid in the covert of the wood!

Ah, yes, like thee I fear the throng,

Like thee I love the solitude.

O brooklet, let my sorrows past

Lie all forgotten in their graves,

Till in my thoughts remain at last

Only thy peace, thy flowers, thy waves.

The lily by thy margin waits,

The nightingale, the marguerite;

In shadow here he meditates

His nest, his love, his music sweet.

Near thee the self-collected soul

Knows naught of error or of crime;

Thy waters, murmuring as they roll,

Transform his musings into rhyme.

Ah, when, on bright autumnal eves,

Pursuing still thy course, shall I

List the soft shudder of the leaves,

And hear the lapwing’s plaintive cry?


My humble brooklet, by thy flight,

Since life, alas! so soon is gone,

Often remind thine eremite

How swift the stream of Time flows on.