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A poem by Frederich Schiller

The Assignation

Title:     The Assignation
Author: Frederich Schiller [More Titles by Schiller]

The Assignation. [A]

Hear I the creaking gate unclose?
The gleaming latch uplifted?
No--'twas the wind that, whirring, rose,
Amidst the poplars drifted!
Adorn thyself, thou green leaf-bowering roof,
Destined the bright one's presence to receive,
For her, a shadowy palace-hall aloof
With holy night, thy boughs familiar weave.
And ye sweet flatteries of the delicate air,
Awake and sport her rosy cheek around,
When their light weight the tender feet shall bear,
When beauty comes to passion's trysting-ground.

Hush! what amidst the copses crept--
So swiftly by me now?
No-'twas the startled bird that swept
The light leaves of the bough!
Day, quench thy torch! come, ghostlike, from on high,
With thy loved silence, come, thou haunting Eve,
Broaden below thy web of purple dye,
Which lulled boughs mysterious round us weave.
For love's delight, enduring listeners none,
The froward witness of the light will flee;
Hesper alone, the rosy silent one,
Down-glancing may our sweet familiar be!

What murmur in the distance spoke,
And like a whisper died?
No--'twas the swan that gently broke
In rings the silver tide!
Soft to my ear there comes a music-flow;
In gleesome murmur glides the waterfall;
To zephyr's kiss the flowers are bending low;
Through life goes joy, exchanging joy with all.
Tempt to the touch the grapes--the blushing fruit, [B]
Voluptuous swelling from the leaves that bide;
And, drinking fever from my cheek, the mute
Air sleeps all liquid in the odor-tide!

Hark! through the alley hear I now
A footfall? Comes the maiden?
No,--'twas the fruit slid from the bough,
With its own richness laden!

Day's lustrous eyes grow heavy in sweet death,
And pale and paler wane his jocund hues,
The flowers too gentle for his glowing breath,
Ope their frank beauty to the twilight dews.
The bright face of the moon is still and lone,
Melts in vast masses the world silently;
Slides from each charm the slowly-loosening zone;
And round all beauty, veilless, roves the eye.

What yonder seems to glimmer?
Her white robe's glancing hues?
No,--'twas the column's shimmer
Athwart the darksome yews!

O, longing heart, no more delight-upbuoyed
Let the sweet airy image thee befool!
The arms that would embrace her clasp the void
This feverish breast no phantom-bliss can cool,
O, waft her here, the true, the living one!
Let but my hand her hand, the tender, feel--
The very shadow of her robe alone!--
So into life the idle dream shall steal!

As glide from heaven, when least we ween,
The rosy hours of bliss,
All gently came the maid, unseen:--
He waked beneath her kiss!

[A] In Schiller the eight long lines that conclude each stanza of this charming love-poem, instead of rhyming alternately as in the translation, chime somewhat to the tune of Byron's Don Juan--six lines rhyming with each other, and the two last forming a separate couplet. In other respects the translation, it is hoped, is sufficiently close and literal.

[B] The peach.

[The end]
Frederich Schiller's poem: Assignation