Pansies for Heather (from Traveller)

(common pansies but whose name, in French – pensées, means thoughts)

 

Song from Ælla by Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770)

 

O SING unto my roundelay,

O drop the briny tear with me;

Dance no more at holyday,

Like a running river be:

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

 

Black his cryne (1) as the winter night,

White his rode (2) as the summer snow,

Red his face as the morning light,

Cold he lies in the grave below:

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

 

Sweet his tongue as the throstle’s note

Quick in dance as thought can be,

Deft his tabor, cudgel stout;

O he lies by the willow-tree!

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

 

Hark! the raven flaps his wing

In the brier’d dell below;

Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing

To the nightmares, as they go:

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

 

See! the white moon shines on high;

Whiter is my true-love’s shroud:

Whiter than the morning sky,

Whiter than the evening cloud:

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

 

Here upon my true-love’s grave

Shall the barren flowers be laid;

Not one holy saint to save

All the coldness of a maid:

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

 

With my hands I’ll dent (3) the briers

Round his holy corse to gre: (4)

Ouph (5) and fairy, light your fires,

Here my body still shall be:

My love is dead,

Gone to his death-bed

All under the willow-tree.

1. Hair

2. Complexion

3. Fasten

4. Grow

5. Elf.

 

 

 

 

This is a poem I wrote some years ago for a very dear friend on his retirement. Sadly he didn’t live to enjoy it. Leukaemia carried him off before 2 years had passed.

I have put translations in brackets where necessary

 

 

Per Lui (for him)

 

 

Sentinel in the forest

faro nel mare (light house on the sea)

in tenebris lux (light in thedarkness)

madrugada del día (dawn of the day)

you are

point de repère constant (constant point of reference)

Nord vers lequel on pouvait toujours s’orienter (the North to which one could always turn)

you were

gravé dans la pierre de la mémoire (etched in the stone of memory)

you will be.

 

 

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