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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Death of the Year
By Aleardo Aleardi (1812–1878)
 
From ‘An Hour of My Youth’

ERE yet upon the unhappy Arctic lands,
In dying autumn, Erebus descends
With the night’s thousand hours, along the verge
Of the horizon, like a fugitive,
Through the long days wanders the weary sun;        5
And when at last under the wave is quenched
The last gleam of its golden countenance,
Interminable twilight land and sea
Discolors, and the north wind covers deep
All things in snow, as in their sepulchres        10
The dead are buried. In the distances
The shock of warring Cyclades of ice
Makes music as of wild and strange lament;
And up in heaven now tardily are lit
The solitary polar star and seven        15
Lamps of the bear. And now the warlike race
Of swans gather their hosts upon the breast
Of some far gulf, and, bidding their farewell
To the white cliffs and slender junipers,
And sea-weed bridal-beds, intone the song        20
Of parting, and a sad metallic clang
Send through the mists. Upon their southward way
They greet the beryl-tinted icebergs; greet
Flamy volcanoes and the seething founts
Of geysers, and the melancholy yellow        25
Of the Icelandic fields; and, wearying
Their lily wings amid the boreal lights,
Journey away unto the joyous shores
Of morning.
 
 
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