The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Shepherd and the Nightingale
THE SHEPHERD AND THE NIGHTINGALE.
One balmy night in charming May,
As on a hill a shepherd lay,
And from the sky with stars o'erspread,
The moon her silv'ry radiance shed;
While from the rose and lilacs there,
Perfumes were filling all the air;
While meadows all asleep and still,
Were lull'd by murmurs of the rill,
A nightingale with tender strain,
Voic'd forth the peace of hill and plain,
Which seem'd uprising to the skies,
From Nature's sweetest harmonies.
But in the fullness of that peace,
Then all at once the warblings cease.
The bird had ended her wild song,
And would no more its strains prolong.
The shepherd urged her, but in vain,
To sing that witching song again.
"No," said the bird, "my days are o'er;
These scenes shall hear my voice no more.
For do you not, from yonder bogs,
Hear the loud discord of those frogs,
Who drown my music by their din,
With which mine own cannot begin?
Before their mastery I yield,
And must forever quit the field."
"Nay," said the shepherd, "that's the way
To give those croakers their full sway.
To silence you is what they want,
And strive to do it by that rant.
When I am hearing your sweet airs,
I'm not e'en conscious then of theirs."