Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Japan: Yoshino, the River


By From the Japanese

Anonymous translation

LOFTY Ashibiki Hill,

Limpid waters leap adown thee,

Streamy falls of Yoshino.

Pensive by the river standing,

Search I long the clear depths,

Listening to the shrilly cries,

Echoing through the streamy land

Of the snipelets up the river,

Calling down the river sharply

Calling on their absent mates:

Yet of yonder busy flock

Each must perish in his turn,

Lying dead upon the ground.

As the joyous scene I view,

Ah, what sadness fills my soul,

Endless as the wild vine’s creeper,—

Generations thousands ten

Pass away like morning rime.

Let us pray to gods of earth,

Let us pray to gods of heaven!

Ever dreaded be the gods!