This Old Village

This old village--
not a single house
without persimmon trees.


Translated by Robert Hass

by Matsuo Basho.

A Fleeting Glimpse Of A Village

How graceful the picture! the life, the repose!
The sunbeam that plays on the porchstone wide;
And the shadow that fleets o'er the stream that flows,
And the soft blue sky with the hill's green side.

by Victor Marie Hugo.

The Song Of The Shepherd Boy In The Valley Of Humiliation

He that is down need fear no fall,
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.

I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much:
And, Lord contentment still I crave,
Because Thou gavest such.

by John Bunyan.

The Highland Shepherd

O the hills of purple heather,
And the skies so warm and gray!
O the shimmer of the sea-mist
In the sea-wind far away!
O the calling of the torrent,
Sweeping down Ben Vorlich's side,
And my white flocks faring foldward
In the hush of eventide!

by Jean Blewett.

The Rustic Life.

Happy are ye who can put by the stress
Of so much of the trouble worldlings know;
Ye who seem almost creatures of the woods,
Now animal and now bird-like amid
The quiet pleasance of your leafy lives;
Though sorrow may be yours, and Death will come
Even like a pilgrim o'er the hills to you.

by Robert Crawford.

How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lambs' innocent call,
And he hears the ewes' tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their shepherd is nigh.

by William Blake.

The Mountain Village

"THE mountain village was destroy'd;
But see how soon is fill'd the void!
Shingles and boards, as by magic arise,
The babe in his cradle and swaddling-clothes lies;
How blest to trust to God's protection!"

Behold a wooden new erection,
So that, if sparks and wind but choose,
God's self at such a game must lose!

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

'Morning' Means 'Milking' To The Farmer

300

'Morning'—means 'Milking'—to the Farmer—
Dawn—to the Teneriffe—
Dice—to the Maid—
Morning means just Risk—to the Lover—
Just revelation—to the Beloved—

Epicures—date a Breakfast—by it—
Brides—an Apocalypse—
Worlds—a Flood—
Faint-going Lives—Their Lapse from Sighing—
Faith—The Experiment of Our Lord

by Emily Dickinson.

Shepherd Turned Sailor

Now Christ ye save yon bonny shepherd
Sailing on the sea;
Ten thousand souls are sailing there
But they belong to Thee.
If he is lost then all is lost
And all is dead to me.

My love should have a grey head-stonee
And green moss at his feet
And clinging grass above his breast
Whereon his lambs could bleat,
And I should know the span of earth
Where some day I might sleep.

by Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal.

The Virgin's Cradle-Hymn. Copied From A Print Of The Virgin, In A Roman Catholic Village In Germany

Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet
Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat,
Blande, veni, somnule.

ENGLISH.

Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
Mother sits beside thee smiling;
Sleep, my darling, tenderly!
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
Singing as her wheel she turneth:
Come, soft slumber, balmily!

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Old Farmer Jack

Old farmer Jack gazed on his wheat,
And feared the frost would nip it.
Said he, "it's nearly seven feet -
I must begin to strip 'it.

He stripped it with a stripper and
He bagged it with a bagger;
The bags were all so lumpy that
They made the bumper stagger.

The lumper staggered up the stack
Where he was told to stack it;
And Jack was paid and put the cash
Inside his linen jacket.

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

The Quiet Rural Church

It was a humble church, with arches low,
The church we entered there,
Where many a weary soul since long ago
Had past with plaint or prayer.

Mournful and still it was at day's decline,
The day we entered there;
As in a loveless heart, at the lone shrine,
The fires extinguished were.

Scarcely was heard to float some gentlest sound,
Scarcely some low breathed word,
As in a forest fallen asleep, is found
Just one belated bird.

by Victor Marie Hugo.

Spring Pastoral

Liza, go steep your long white hands
In the cool waters of that spring
Which bubbles up through shiny sands
The colour of a wild-dove's wing.

Dabble your hands, and steep them well
Until those nails are pearly white
Now rosier than a laurel bell;
Then come to me at candlelight.

Lay your cold hands across my brows,
And I shall sleep, and I shall dream
Of silver-pointed willow boughs
Dipping their fingers in a stream.

by Elinor Morton Wylie.

The Shepherd Boy Sings In The Valley Of Humiliation

HE that is down needs fear no fall,
   He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
   Have God to be his guide.

I am content with what I have,
   Little be it or much:
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
   Because Thou savest such.

Fullness to such a burden is
   That go on pilgrimage:
Here little, and hereafter bliss,
   Is best from age to age.

by John Bunyan.

The Peasant Poet

He loved the brook's soft sound,
The swallow swimming by.
He loved the daisy-covered ground,
The cloud-bedappled sky.
To him the dismal storm appeared
The very voice of God;
And when the evening rack was reared
Stood Moses with his rod.
And everything his eyes surveyed,
The insects in the brake,
Were creatures God Almighty made,
He loved them for His sake--
A silent man in life's affairs,
A thinker from a boy,
A peasant in his daily cares,
A poet in his joy.

by John Clare.

Along the pastoral ways I go,
To get the healing of the trees,
The ghostly news the hedges know;
To hive me honey like the bees,
Against the time of snow.

The common hawthorn that I see,
Beside the sunken wall astir,
Or any other blossoming tree,
Is each God’s fair white gospeller,
His book upon the knee.

A gust-broken bough; a pilfered nest;
Rumors of orchard or of bin;
The thrifty things of east and west,—
The countryside becomes my Inn,
And I its happy guest.

by Lizette Woodworth Reese.

Shepherd Swains That Feed Your Flocks

`Shepherd swains that feed your flocks
'Mong the grassy-rooted rocks,
While I still see sun and moon,
Grant to me this simple boon:
As I sit on craggy seat,
And your kids and young lambs bleat,
Let who on the pierced pipe blows
Play the sweetest air he knows.
And, when I no more shall hear
Grasshopper or chanticleer,
Strew green bay and yellow broom
On the silence of my tomb;
And, still giving as you gave,
Milk a she-goat at my grave.
For, though life and joy be fled,
Dear are love-gifts to the dead.'

by Alfred Austin.

Under The Poplars

Like priestly imprisoned poets,
the poplars of blood have fallen asleep.
On the hills, the flocks of Bethlehem
chew arias of grass at sunset.

The ancient shepherd, who shivers
at the last martyrdoms of light,
in his Easter eyes has caught
a purebred flock of stars.

Formed in orphanhood, he goes down
with rumors of burial to the praying field,
and the sheep bells are seasoned with shadow.

It survives, the blue warped
In iron, and on it, pupils shrouded,
A dog etches its pastoral howl.

by Cesar Vallejo.

Ah! County Guy, the hour is nigh
The sun has left the lea,
The orange-flower perfumes the bower,
The breeze is on the sea.
The lark, his lay who trill’d all day,
Sits hush’d his partner nigh;
Breeze, bird, and flower confess the hour,
But where is County Guy?

The village maid steals through the shade
Her shepherd’s suit to hear;
To Beauty shy, by lattice high,
Sings high-born Cavalier.
The star of Love, all stars above,
Now reigns o’er earth and sky,
And high and low the influence know—
But where is County Guy?

by Sir Walter Scott.

Village Mystery

The woman in the pointed hood
And cloak blue-gray like a pigeon's wing,
Whose orchard climbs to the balsam-wood,
Has done a cruel thing.

To her back door-step came a ghost,
A girl who had been ten years dead,
She stood by the granite hitching-post
And begged for a piece of bread.

Now why should I, who walk alone,
Who am ironical and proud,
Turn, when a woman casts a stone
At a beggar in a shroud?

I saw the dead girl cringe and whine,
And cower in the weeping air--
But, oh, she was no kin of mine,
And so I did not care!

by Elinor Morton Wylie.

In The Boring Village

In the boring village where he works—
clerk in a textile shop, very young—
and where he's waiting out the two or three months ahead,
another two or three months until business falls off
so he can leave for the city and plunge headlong
into its action, its entertainment;
in the boring village where he's waiting out the time—
he goes to bed tonight full of sexual longing,
all his youth on fire with the body's passion,
his lovely youth given over to a fine intensity.
And in his sleep pleasure comes to him;
in his sleep he sees and has the figure, the flesh he longed for...

by Constantine P. Cavafy.

The Weeping Babe

She kneels by the cradle
Where Jesus doth lie;
Singing, Lullaby, my Baby!
But why dost Thou cry?

The babes of the village
Smile sweetly in sleep;
And lullaby, my Baby,
That ever dost weep!

I've wrapped Thee in linen,
The gift of the Kings;
And wool, soft and fleecy,
The kind Shepherd brings.

Now smile, little Jesus,
Whom naught can defile;
All gifts will I give Thee
An thou wilt but smile.

But it's lullaby, my Baby!
And mournful am I,
Thou cherished little Jesus,
That still Thou wilt cry.

by Katharine Tynan.

'Enemies Of The 5-Year Plan'

The Landowner glares like a ferocious watchdog
The Kulak [rich peasant] snorts through his bulbous nose
The habitual drunk boozes his woes away
The [village] priest frantically whoops and and wails.

The corrupt journalist spits and hisses
The capitalist sharpens his tusks
The Menshevik rages like a madman
The White Soldier effs and blinds.

These dogs that have not been thrown into jail -
Everyone defending the bad old ways -
Put an evil curse on the Five-Year Plan
And declare war on it.
They threaten its disruption, realising
That it spells their utter ruination.

by Demyan Bedny.

For A Venetian Pastoral By Giorgione (In The Louvre)

WATER, for anguish of the solstice:—nay,
But dip the vessel slowly,—nay, but lean
And hark how at its verge the wave sighs in
Reluctant. Hush! beyond all depth away
The heat lies silent at the brink of day:
Now the hand trails upon the viol-string
That sobs, and the brown faces cease to sing,
Sad with the whole of pleasure. Whither stray
Her eyes now, from whose mouth the slim pipes creep
And leave it pouting, while the shadowed grass
Is cool against her naked side? Let be:—
Say nothing now unto her lest she weep,
Nor name this ever. Be it as it was,—
Life touching lips with Immortality.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

A Son Was Born To A Poor Peasant

A son was born to a poor peasant.
A foul old woman stepped inside
The hut, with trembling bony fingers
Clawing her tangled locks aside.

And when the midwife wasn't looking,
Across towards that babe she reached.
And with her gnarled, misshapen fingers
His cheek she very lightly touched.

Mumbling weird words and slowly tapping
Her crooked stick, she went away.
Nobody knew what charm she'd woven,
And so the years went duly by -

The secret spell came to fulfilment:
In life, much sorrow came to him
But happiness, and joy, and true love
Fled the dark sign upon the skin.

by Fyodor Sologub.

The Shepherd, Looking Eastward, Softly Said

The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said,
"Bright is thy veil, O Moon, as thou art bright!"
Forthwith, that little cloud, in ether spread
And penetrated all with tender light,
She cast away, and showed her fulgent head
Uncovered; dazzling the Beholder's sight
As if to vindicate her beauty's right
Her beauty thoughtlessly disparaged.
Meanwhile that veil, removed or thrown aside,
Went floating from her, darkening as it went;
And a huge mass, to bury or to hide,
Approached this glory of the firmament;
Who meekly yields, and is obscured--content
With one calm triumph of a modest pride.

by William Wordsworth.

O, Vrba, Happy Village, My Old Hme

O, Vrba, happy village, my old home -
My father's cottage stands there to this day.
The lure of learning beckoned me away.
Its serpent wiles enticing me to roam,

Else had I never known that heart's joy,
Sweet promise, could become a poisoned draught,
Not known myself of self-belief bereft,
Tossed in internal tempests like a toy.

A dowry riches never could surpass,
A faithful heart, a hand that's made for work,
Would have come with a chosen country lass

Serenely onward would have sailed my bark,
My house from fire, my corn from hailstorm loss
Safeguarded by my neighbour near, Sain Mark.

by France Preseren.

I Often Passed The Village

51

I often passed the village
When going home from school—
And wondered what they did there—
And why it was so still—

I did not know the year then—
In which my call would come—
Earlier, by the Dial,
Than the rest have gone.

It's stiller than the sundown.
It's cooler than the dawn—
The Daisies dare to come here—
And birds can flutter down—

So when you are tired—
Or perplexed—or cold—
Trust the loving promise
Underneath the mould,
Cry "it's I," "take Dollie,"
And I will enfold!

by Emily Dickinson.

Pleasures Of Fancy

A path, old tree, goes by thee crooking on,
And through this little gate that claps and bangs
Against thy rifted trunk, what steps hath gone?
Though but a lonely way, yet mystery hangs
Oer crowds of pastoral scenes recordless here.
The boy might climb the nest in thy young boughs
That's slept half an eternity; in fear
The herdsman may have left his startled cows
For shelter when heaven's thunder voice was near;
Here too the woodman on his wallet laid
For pillow may have slept an hour away;
And poet pastoral, lover of the shade,
Here sat and mused half some long summer day
While some old shepherd listened to the lay.

by John Clare.

BLEST is yon shepherd, on the turf reclined,
Who on the varied clouds which float above
Lies idly gazing--while his vacant mind
Pours out some tale antique of rural love!
Ah! he has never felt the pangs that move
Th' indignant spirit, when with selfish pride
Friends, on whose faith the trusting heart relied,
Unkindly shun th' imploring eye of woe!
The ills they ought to soothe with taunts deride,
And laugh at tears themselves have forced to flow.
Nor his rude bosom those fine feelings melt,
Children of Sentiment and Knowledge born,
Through whom each shaft with cruel force is felt,
Empoison'd by deceit--or barb'd with scorn.

by Charlotte Smith.

Here is a tale for farmer and for peasant:
There was an ox, who might have ploughed for Jason,
So strong was he, his huge head like a bason,
A Gothic helmet with enormous crescent.
Stolid of look and slow of hoof and steady,
Meek was the beast and born but to be driven,
Unmindful of the yoke which toil had given,
Toil with his goad and lash for ever ready.
One day a bull, who was the bullock's neighbor,
Proud as a sultan haremed with his women,
Lowed to the ox who had received a beating:
'You are a fool! What have you for your labour?
Blows and bad food! Go to. Why don't you show men?'
The ox was but an ox and went on eating.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Sonnet Xi. To Sleep

COME, balmy Sleep! tired nature's soft resort!
On these sad temples all thy poppies shed;
And bid gay dreams, from Morpheus' airy court,
Float in light vision round my aching head!
Secure of all thy blessings, partial Power!
On his hard bed the peasant throws him down;
And the poor sea-boy, in the rudest hour,
Enjoys thee more than he who wears a crown.
Clasp'd in her faithful shepherd's guardian arms,
Well may the village girl sweet slumbers prove;
And they, O gentle Sleep! still taste thy charms,
Who wake to labour, liberty, and love.
But still thy opiate aid dost thou deny
To calm the anxious breast; to close the streaming eye.

by Charlotte Smith.

The Dead Village

Here there is death. But even here, they say,
Here where the dull sun shines this afternoon
As desolate as ever the dead moon
Did glimmer on dead Sardis, men were gay;
And there were little children here to play,
With small soft hands that once did keep in tune
The strings that stretch from heaven, till too soon
The change came, and the music passed away.

Now there is nothing but the ghosts of things,—
No life, no love, no children, and no men;
And over the forgotten place there clings
The strange and unrememberable light
That is in dreams. The music failed, and then
God frowned, and shut the village from His sight.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Sonnet -- The Peasant

WIDE o'er the barren plain the bleak wind flies,
Sweeps the high mountain's top, and with its breath
Swells the curl'd river o'er the plain beneath,
Where many a clay-built hut in ruin lies.

The hardy PEASANT in his little cot,
Lights his small fire, his homely meal prepares;
No pamper'd luxury, no splendid cares
Invade the comforts of his humble lot.

Born to endure, he labours thro' the day,
And when the midnight storm o'er spreads the skies,
On a clean pallet peacefully he lies,
And sweetly sleeps the lonely hours away;
Till at the peep of dawn he wakes to find,
HEALTH in his veins, and RAPTURE IN HIS MIND.

by Mary Darby Robinson.

The Good Shepherd With The Kid

_He saves the sheep, the goats he doth not save._
So rang Tertullian's sentence, on the side
Of that unpitying Phrygian Sect which cried:
'Him can no fount of fresh forgiveness lave,

Who sins, once washed by the baptismal wave.'--
So spake the fierce Tertullian. But she sighed,
The infant Church! of love she felt the tide
Stream on her from her Lord's yet recent grave.

And then she smiled; and in the Catacombs,
With eye suffused but heart inspired true,
On those walls subterranean, where she hid

Her head in ignominy, death, and tombs,
She her good Shepherd's hasty image drew--
And on his shoulders, not a lamb, a kid.

by Matthew Arnold.

The Good Shepherd (From The Spanish Of Lope De Vega)

Shepherd! who with thine amorous sylvan songs
Hast broken the slumber that encompassed me,
Who mad'st thy crook from the accursed tree,
On which thy powerful arms were stretched so long!
Lead me to mercy's ever-flowing fountains;
For thou my shepherd, guard, and guide shalt be ;
I will obey thy voice, and wait to see
Thy feet all beautiful upon the mountains.
Hear, Shepherd! thou who for thy flock art dying,
Oh, wash away these scarlet sins, for thou
Rejoicest at the contrite sinner's vow.
Oh, wait! to thee my weary soul is crying,
Wait for me! Yet why ask it, when I see,
With feet nailed to the cross, thou'rt waiting still for me?

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Village Miser

The dogs made way for him and snarled and ran;
And little children to their parents clung,
Big-eyed with fear, when, gruff of look and tongue,
Bent-backed he passed who had the village ban.
In old drab coat and trousers, shoes of tan,
And scarecrow hat, from some odd fashion sprung,
A threadbare cloak about his shoulders flung,
Grasping a crooked stick, limped by this man.
Unspeaking and unspoken to, but oft
Cursed after for a miser as he passed,
Or barked at by the dogs who feared his cane.
One day they found him dead; killed in his loft.
Among his books, the hoard which he had massed.
And then they laughed and swore he was insane.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Song: Let No Shepherd Sing To Me

Let no Shepherd sing to me
The stupid praise of Constancy,
Nature bids her subjects range,
All creation's full of change.
See the varying hours display
Morning, Evening, Night, and Day,
See the circling seasons bring
Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring.
Shall the river's current full
Idly sleep a stagnate pool,
Shall the pedant's mandate bind
The rapid wave, the fleeting wind.
Thus I sung when Chloe's eyes
Made my vanquish'd heart their prize,
Where's my passion now to range,
Love of Freedom, love of Change.
Still my breast retains it's views,
Still variety pursues,
Happy in one Nymph to find
Every charm of Womankind.

by Henry James Pye.

The Shepherd’s Brow, Fronting Forked Lightning, Owns

The shepherd's brow, fronting forked lightning, owns
The horror and the havoc and the glory
Of it. Angels fall, they are towers, from heaven—a story
Of just, majestical, and giant groans.
But man—we, scaffold of score brittle bones;
Who breathe, from groundlong babyhood to hoary
Age gasp; whose breath is our memento mori—
What bass is our viol for tragic tones?
He! Hand to mouth he lives, and voids with shame;
And, blazoned in however bold the name,
Man Jack the man is, just; his mate a hussy.
And I that die these deaths, that feed this flame,
That … in smooth spoons spy life’s masque mirrored: tame
My tempests there, my fire and fever fussy.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The Village Maiden

The village bells are ringing,
And merrily they chime;
The village choir is singing,
For 'tis a happy time;
The chapel walls are laden
With garlands rich and gay,
To greet the village maiden
Upon her wedding day.
But summer joys have faded
And summer hopes have flown;
Her brow with grief is shaded,
Her happy smiles are gone;
Yet why her heart is laden,
Not one, alas! can say,
Who saw the village maiden
Upon her wedding day.
The village bells are ringing,
But hark, how sad and slow;
The village choir is singing
A requiem soft and low;
And all with sorrow laden
Their tearful tribute pay
Who saw the village maiden
Upon her wedding day.

by Stephen Collins Foster.