Modern Poets and Poetry of Spain/My Village Life

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When able happily am I
To my poor village to escape,
From all the city's noise to fly,
And cares of every shape;

Like a new man my spirits give
Me then to feel, in joyous link;
For only then I seem to live,
And only then to think.

The insufferable hours that there
In weariness to me return'd,
Now on a course so gently bear,
Their flight is scarce discern'd.

The nights that there in sloth and play
Alone their occupations keep,
Here with choice books I pass away,
And in untroubled sleep.

With the first dawn I wake, to change
Rejoiced the soft bed's balmy rest,
Through the life-giving air to range,
That free dilates the breast.

It pleases me the heavens to view,
O'erspread with red and golden glows,
When first his lustres to renew,
His splendours Phoebus shows.

It pleases me, when bright his rays,
Above the zenith fiery shine,
To lose me in the thick wood's maze,
And in their shade recline.

When languidly he hides his head,
In last reflection, even then
The mountain heights I eager tread,
To follow him again.

And when the night its mantle wide
Extends around of beaming lights,
Their motions, measuring as they glide,
My watchful eye recites.

Then to my books return'd, with awe,
My wondering thoughts, to trace, rehearse
The course of that portentous law,
That rules the universe.

From them, and from the lofty height
Of such my thoughts, I then descend
To where my rustic friends await,
My leisure to attend.

And with them taking up the part,
They give me in their toils and cares
To share, with jokes that merry start,
Away the evening wears.

About his crops one tells me all,
Another all about his vines,
And what their neighbours may befall
Each many a tale combines.

I ponder o'er each sage advice;
Their proverbs carefully I store;
Their doubts and quarrels judge concise,
As arbitrator o'er.

My judgements all extol they free,
And all together talking loud;
For innocent equality
Reigns in their breasts avowed.

Then soon the servant comes to bring
The brimming jugs, and next with these
The mirthful girl supplies the ring
With chestnuts, and the cheese.

And all, in brotherly content,
Draw nearer round, to pass untold
The sparkling cups, that wine present
Of more than three years old.

And thus my pleasant days to pass,
In peace and happiness supreme,
(For so our tastes our pleasures class,)
But like a moment seem.

  1. This and the two following poems are taken from those at pages 94, 110 and 64 of the first volume of the Works of Melendez Valdes; the Disdainful Shepherdess from the one at p. 62 of vol. ii.