Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (18071882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.
From the French. Song: Hark! Hark!
From The Paradise of Love
The first work which Mr. Longfellow printed in the way of translation of French poetry was in connection with his article on Origin and Progress of the French Language, which he contributed to the North American Review for April 1831. He used a portion of this paper in the chapter, The Trouvères, in Outer-Mer, introducing his translation of some early lyrics by these words: The favorite theme of the ancient lyric poets of the North of France is the wayward passion of love. They all delight to sing les douces dolors et li mal plaisant de fine amor. With such feelings the beauties of the opening spring are naturally associated. Almost every love-ditty of the old poets commences with some such exordium as this: When the snows of winter have passed away, when the soft and gentle spring returns, and the flower and leaf shoot in the groves, and the little birds warble to their mates in their own sweet language,then will I sing my lady-love! Another favorite introduction to these little rhapsodies of romantic passion is the approach of morning and its sweet-voiced herald, the lark. The minstrels song to his lady-love frequently commences with an allusion to the hour
When the rosebud opes its een,
And the bluebells droop and die,
And upon the leaves so green
Sparkling dew-drops lie.
The following is at once the simplest and prettiest piece of this kind which I have met with among the early lyric poets of the North of France. It is taken from an anonymous poem, entitled The Paradise of Love. A lover, having passed the live-long night in tears as he was wont, goes forth to beguile his sorrows with the fragrance and beauty of morning. The carol of the vaulting skylark salutes his ear, and to this merry musician he makes his complaint.