Poems (Bryant, 1821)/Translation of a Fragment of Simonides

Poems  (1821)  by William Cullen Bryant
Translation of a Fragment of Simonides

Translation of a poem fragment from Simonides of Keos

TRANSLATION

OF A

FRAGMENT OF SIMONIDES.

The night winds howl’d—the billows dash’d
Against the tossing chest;—
And Danaë, to her broken heart,
Her slumbering infant prest.

My little child—in tears she said—
To wake and weep is mine;
But thou canst sleep—thou dost not know
Thy mother’s lot, and thine.

The moon is up, the moon beams smile,
And tremble on the main;
But dark, within my floating cell,
To me they smile in vain.

Thy folded mantle wraps thee warm,
And thy long locks are dry;
Thou dost not hear the shrieking gust,
Nor breakers booming high.

Yet thou, didst thou but know thy fate,
Would’st melt, my tears to see;
And I, methinks, should weep the less,
Would’st thou but weep with me.

Yet, dear one, sleep, and sleep ye winds
That vex the restless brine—
When shall these eyes, my babe, be seal’d
As peacefully as thine!