IN the deepest nights of Winter
To the Muses kind oft cried I:
“Not a ray of morn is gleaming,
Not a sign of daylight breaking;
Bring, then, at the fitting moment,
Bring the lamp’s soft glimm’ring lustre,
‘Stead of Phoebus and Aurora,
To enliven my still labours!”
Yet they left me in my slumbers,
Dull and unrefreshing, lying,
And to each late-waken’d morning
Follow’d days devoid of profit.
When at length return’d the spring-time,
To the nightingales thus spake I:
“Darling nightingales, oh, beat ye
Early, early at my window,
Wake me from the heavy slumber
That chains down the youth so strongly!”
Yet the love-o’erflowing songsters
Their sweet melodies protracted
Through the night before my window,
Kept awake my loving spirit,
Rousing new and tender yearnings
In my newly-waken’d bosom.
And the night thus fleeted o’er me,
And Aurora found me sleeping,
Ay, the sun could scarce arouse me.
Now at length is come the Summer,
And the early fly so busy
Draws me from my pleasing slumbers
At the first-born morning-glimmer.
Mercilessly then returns she,
Though the half-aroused one often
Scares her from him with impatience,
And she lures her shameless sisters,
So that from my weary eyelids
Kindly sleep ere long is driven.
From my couch then boldly spring I,
And I seek the darling Muses,
In the beechen-grove I find them,
Full of pieasure to receive me;
And to the tormenting insects
Owe I many a golden hour.
Thus be ye, unwelcome beings,
Highly valued by the poet,
As the flies my numbers tell of.