Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Aigalades, The
On the Terrace of the Aigalades
Joseph Méry (1797–1866)
 
Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

FROM this high portal, where upsprings
The rose to touch our hands in play,
We at a glance behold three things,—
The sea, the town and the highway.
 
And the sea says: My shipwrecks fear,        5
I drown my best friends in the deep;
And those who braved my tempests, here
Among my sea-weeds lie asleep!
 
The town says: I am filled and fraught
With tumult and with smoke and care;        10
My days with toil are overwrought,
And in my nights I gasp for air.
 
The highway says: My wheel-tracks guide
To the pale climates of the North;
Where my last milestone stands, abide        15
The people to their death gone forth.
 
Here, in the shade, this life of ours,
Full of delicious air, glides by
Amid a multitude of flowers,
As countless as the stars on high;        20
 
These red-tiled roofs, this fruitful soil,
Bathed with an azure all divine,
Where springs the tree that gives us oil,
The grape that giveth us the wine;
 
Beneath these mountains stripped of trees,        25
Whose tops with flowers are covered o’er;
Where springtime of the Hesperides
Begins, but endeth nevermore;
 
Under these leafy vaults and walls,
That unto gentle sleep persuade;        30
This rainbow of the waterfalls,
Of mingled mist and sunshine made;
 
Upon these shores, where all invites,
We live our languid life apart;
This air is that of life’s delights,        35
The festival of sense and heart;
 
This limpid space of time prolong,
Forget to-morrow in to-day,
And leave unto the passing throng
The sea, the town, and the highway.        40
 
 
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