Page:A Book of Czech Verse.pdf/67

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J. Vrchlický (1853–1912)


A biting wind drove on
The distant, gloomy cloud;
On birds unsleeping, shimmering starlight fell.
One sings among the grass,
One in the apple tree,
And pours its pearls within each flowery bell.

A light is winking through
A cottage window pane;
A moth is flying whitely round the glow.
I closer gaze; and there
With candle raised, a girl
Is standing where a coffin lies below.

Snow-haired, and pale of face,
A child of sixteen years:
For brother, sister small, a tear-drop steals
And quivers at her eye,
Then falls upon her hands:
What sadness now her childish sweetness feels!

I passed before that child
In reverence evoked
By maiden’s sorrow, child’s serenity.
Amid her bitter loss
I felt, like holy grace,
How sacred death—and virgin purity.