Frances Anne Kemble Poems >>
Lines

ON READING WITH DIFFICULTY SOME OF SCHILLER'S EARLY LOVE POEMS.


    When of thy loves, and happy heavenly dreams
    Of early life, O Bard! I strive to read,
    Thy foreign utterance a riddle seems,
    And hardly can I hold thy thought's bright thread.
    When of the maiden's guilt, the mother's woe,
    And the dark mystery of death and shame,
    Thou speakest-then thy terrible numbers flow
    As if the tongue we think in were the same.
    Ah wherefore! but because all joy and love
      Speak unfamiliar, unknown words to me,
      A spirit of wishful wonder they may move,
      Dreams of what might-but yet shall never be.
      But the sharp cry of pain-the bitter moan
      Of trust deceived-the horrible despair
      Of hope and love for ever overthrown-
      These strains of thine need no interpreter.
      Ah! 'tis my native tongue! and howsoe'er
      In foreign accents writ, that I did ne'er
      Or speak, or hear, a woman's agony
      Still utters a familiar voice to me.