Nikolaus Lenau: “An Experience of Travel”
Excerpt, “English Echoes of German Song.” Tr. by R. E. Wallis, J. D. Morell and F. D’Anvers. Ed. by N. D’Anvers. London: 1877.
AN EXPERIENCE OF TRAVEL
THE Birchen-stems in silver dight
I saw so palely gleaming,
As if on them, from out the night,
The moonlight still were beaming.
I saw a cottage in the grove,—
The grove of Birches slender :
It beckoned me with friendly love
A welcome kind to tender.
For in the ruddy morning glow
Glistened each tiny casement ;
And walls with Roses all ablow
Were clothed from top to basement.
The trailing Vine-branch hung aloof,
Enriched with purple clusters ;
The doves sate cooing on the roof.
And made their morning musters.
The early lark with joyous spring,
Into the sky up-soarlng,
Sang out, and made the welkin ring,
From heaven its strains down-pouring.
Then thought I ; —if that casement should
Sudden unclose to greet me ;
And if within my darling stood,
And thence tripped forth to meet me.
Of all my fancies, thou most fair !
Ah ! if to me ’twere given
Alone with her to dwell, and share
This peaceful forest-heaven !
With her to pass the Spring’s bright days,
At eve with her to wander, —
And, of the nightingale’s sweet lays
The source, with her to ponder.
With her the wither’d leaves to watch
In Autumn’s blasts careering; —
I’d teach her new delights to snatch
From old ones disappearing.
When trees are clothed in wintry dress,
My love sweet songs should sing me:
And then, what more of blessedness
Could earth or heaven bring me ?
I scarcely dared to breathe or stir,
Lest all these joys Elysian,
Cottage and Roses too, with her
Should vanish, —all a vision !
But see ! From out the cottage door
An early huntsman sallies,
His dogs loud baying, bound before,
Adown the leafy alleys.
He followed in the woodland track,
And gave me fair good-morrow :
I gave him hasty greeting back ;
And went my way—in sorrow.