An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/Songs of Evening

For other English-language translations of this work, see Evening Songs (Hálek).

The poem marked as number II is in fact number I in the Czech original.

2608551An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry — Songs of Evening1912Vítězslav Hálek, translated by Paul Selver

Vítěslav Hálek (1835—1874).



Springtime is waited from afar,
With longing all is teeming;
And all is pressing to the sun,
That long has been a-dreaming.

From out its nest the finch, and from
The hut the children speed;
The many-coloured blossoms waft
Sweet fragrance on the mead.

The leaf is bursting from the twig,
The birds are gaily singing;
And from the youthful breast and heart
The buds of love are springing.


The trees are rustling softly; through
The leaves scarce moves a breeze;
The birds in blissful dreams repose,
So silent and at ease.

Many a star in heaven appears,
Around it is so free;
But in my bosom there is grief,
In my heart is misery.

Upon the petals of the flowers
The dew in splendour lies;
O God, and even so the dew
Wells up into my eyes.


Now all is sleeping in the world,
Save the heart within my breast;
God knows, it is the heart alone
That ne'er lies down to rest.

Upon God's earth, all now is mute,
But the heart its song desires;
God knows, it is the heart alone
That never, never tires.

Thought is by slumber overcome,
Night changes place with day;
The heart keeps watch, aye in the breast,
And there o'er love holds sway.


Like to a spreading tree am I,
Decked for a festive day;
Come hither to the shade I spread,
Thou lovely rose of May.

Here every leaf in fragrance breathes,
The bees go humming by;
The birds fly in the evening here,
They are my thoughts that fly.

They fly away, far, far away,
Like children from their home;
But if thou com’st to tarry nigh,
No longer will they roam.


Thou art still but a flower-bud,
From out the earth scarce born,
And yet already roses fair
Thy countenance adorn.

These roses are so beautiful,
Their fragrance so divine,
My soul is filled with love for them,
My heart for them doth pine.


The stars up yonder in the sky
Are mighty worlds; and fain
Would I but know what kind they are
The beings they contain.

And whether there is someone there
Who gazes from above;
And if 'tis so, if he like me
Is singing songs of love.


The moon is up amidst the stars,
The woods are filled with sound;
O'er the wide world it is as if
God scattered love around.

These early leaves with many a voice
Exchange a converse sweet;
It is as if the amorous world
In a single kiss did meet.

And yet I know, in solitude
Is many a heart oppressed,
And many a youthful face doth find
From bitter tears no rest.


O God, within this soul of mine,
Each wish is lulled to sleep;
This only do I crave of thee,
That I my song may keep.

If Thou my gift of song would'st take,
No longer would I live,
Nor happy be, if for my song
Thou happiness would'st give.


The pale moon in the skies doth rest,
A song hath risen in my breast.

The birds have come and did relate
That our love hath been so great.

That these buds by springtime borne
A bridal robe would fain adorn.

That this ivy forms a crown,
Upon thy head to thy renown.

That bedecked with charms untold,
Thee for evermore I hold.

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1970, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 53 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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