The Sorrowful City


In unknown days my fathers’ sires
Came, and from son to son took root
Among the orchards and the river-meads
And the long grasses of the fragrant plain:
Many a summer saw they kindle yellow fires
Of iris in the bowing reeds,
And many a sea of blossom turn to golden fruit
In walled gardens of the great champaign.

There daffodils among the ordered trees
Did nod in spring, and men laughed deep and long
Singing as they laboured happy lays
And lighting even with a drinking-song.
There sleep came easy for the drone of bees
Thronging about cottage gardens heaped with flowers;
In love of sunlit goodliness of days
There richly flowed their lives in settled hours —
But that was long ago,

And now no more they sing, nor reap, nor sow,
And I perforce in many a town about this isle
Unsettled wanderer have dwelt awhile.

The Town of Dreams

Here many days once gently past me crept
In this dear town of old forgetfulness;
Here all entwined in dreams once long I slept
And heard no echo of the world’s distress
Come through the rustle of the elms’ rich leaves,
While Avon gurgling over shallows wove
Unending melody, and morns and eves
Slipped down her waters till the Autumn came,
(Like the gold leaves that drip and flutter then,
Till the dark river gleams with jets of flame
That slowly float far down beyond our ken.)
For here the castle and the mighty tower,
More lofty than the tiered elms,
More grey than long November rain,
Sleep, and nor sunlit moment nor triumphal hour,
Nor passing of the seasons or the Sun
Wakes their old lords too long in slumber lain.
No watchfulness disturbs their splendid dream,
Though laughing radiance dance down the stream;
And be they clad in snow or lashed by windy rains,
Or may March whirl the dust about the winding lanes,
The Elm robe and disrobe her of a million leaves
Like moments clustered in a crowded year,
Still their old heart unmoved nor weeps nor grieves,
Uncomprehending of this evil tide,
Today’s great sadness, or Tomorrow’s fear:
Faint echoes fade within their drowsy halls
Like ghosts; the daylight creeps across their walls.

The City of Present Sorrow

There is a city that far distant lies
And a vale outcarven in forgotten days —
There wider was the grass, and lofty elms more rare;
The river-sense was heavy in the lowland air.
There many willows changed the aspect of the earth and skies
Where feeding brooks wound in by sluggish ways,
And down the margin of the sailing Thames
Around his broad old bosom their old stems
Were bowed, and subtle shades lay on his streams
Where their grey leaves adroop o’er silver pools
Did knit a coverlet like shimmering jewels
Of blue and misty green and filtering gleams.

O aged city of an all too brief sojourn,
I see thy clustered windows each one burn
With lamps and candles of departed men.
The misty stars thy crown, the night thy dress,
Most peerless-magical thou dost possess
My heart, and old days come to life again;
Old mornings dawn, or darkened evenings bring
The same old twilight noises from the town.
Thou hast the very core of longing and delight,
To thee my spirit dances oft in sleep
Along thy great grey streets, or down
A little lamplit alley-way at night —
Thinking no more of other cities it has known,
Forgetting for a while the tree-girt keep,
And town of dreams, where men no longer sing.
For thy heart knows, and thou shedst many tears
For all the sorrow of these evil years.
Thy thousand pinnacles and fretted spires
Are lit with echoes and the lambent fires
Of many companies of bells that ring
Rousing pale visions of majestic days
The windy years have strewn down distant ways;
And in thy halls still doth thy spirit sing
Songs of old memory amid thy present tears,
Or hope of days to come half-sad with many fears.
Lo! though along thy paths no laughter runs
While war untimely takes thy many sons,
No tide of evil can thy glory drown
Robed in sad majesty, the stars thy crown.

Forgetting for a while that all men weep
It strays there happy and to thee it sings
‘No tide of evil can thy glory drown,
Robed in sad majesty, the stars thy crown!’

Печалният град


В забравено време дедите дошли
и потомците пуснали корен в полята
сред дълготревни уханни лъки,
овошки и тучни крайречни ливади.
Много лета грели жълти огньове
от ириси в строен тръстиков гъстак;
цветенцата влюбено свеждали поглед
в залян от златистото слънце листак.

Там нарциси горди сред прави дървета
дълго слушали смях през безгрижните дни;
край огъня вечер пяли мъжете,
отдъхвайки с пиво и радостен стих.
Спели спокойно под бръм на пчели,
жужащи в отрупани цветни градини;
огрени от слънчева хубост били
часовете блажени, богати, щастливи.
Но това отдавна е било.

Сега там няма песен, оран, жътва,
и аз пребродих много градове —
бездомен скитник, спрял се не за дълго.


Превод: Детелина Маринова

Поема, написана през м. март 1916 г.

Първоначалното ѝ заглавие е „The Wanderer’s Allegiance”. Първата част от поемата е използвана в „Песента на Ериол”.