Count Giacomo Leopardi (29 June 1798 – 14 June 1837 / Rencanati)
The Evening Of The Holiday
The night is mild and clear, and without wind,
And o'er the roofs, and o'er the gardens round
The moon shines soft, and from afar reveals
Each mountain-peak serene. O lady, mine,
Hushed now is every path, and few and dim
The lamps that glimmer through the balconies.
Thou sleepest! in thy quiet rooms, how light
And easy is thy sleep! No care thy heart
Consumes; and little dost thou know or think,
How deep a wound thou in my heart hast made.
Thou sleepest; I to yonder heaven turn,
That seems to greet me with a loving smile,
And to that Nature old, omnipotent,
That doomed me still to suffer. 'I to thee
All hope deny,' she said, 'e'en hope; nor may
Those eyes of thine e'er shine, save through their tears.'
This was a holiday; its pleasures o'er,
Thou seek'st repose; and happy in thy dreams
Recallest those whom thou hast pleased to-day,
And those who have pleased thee: not I, indeed,--
I hoped it not,--unto thy thoughts occur.
Meanwhile, I ask, how much of life remains
To me; and on the earth I cast myself,
And cry, and groan. How wretched are my days,
And still so young! Hark, on the road I hear,
Not far away, the solitary song
Of workman, who returns at this late hour,
In merry mood, unto his humble home;
And in my heart a cruel pang I feel,
At thought, how all things earthly pass away,
And leave no trace behind. This festal day
Hath fled; a working-day now follows it,
And all, alike, are swept away by Time.
Where is the glory of the antique nations now?
Where now the fame of our great ancestors?
The empire vast of Rome, the clash of arms?
Now all is peace and silence, all the world
At rest; their very names are heard no more.
E'en from my earliest years, when we
Expect so eagerly a holiday,
The moment it was past, I sought my couch,
Wakeful and sad; and at the midnight hour,
When I the song heard of some passer-by,
That slowly in the distance died away,
The same deep anguish felt I in my heart.
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