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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855)

From the ‘Poets and Poetry of Poland,’ edited by Paul Soboleski

SCARCE had the happy lark begun

To sing of Spring with joyous burst,

When oped the primrose to the sun—

The golden-petaled blossoms first.

’TIS yet too soon, my little flower,—

The north wind waits with chilly breath;

Still capped by snow the mountains tower,

And wet the meadows lie beneath.

Hide yet awhile thy golden light,

Hide yet beneath thy mother’s wing,

Ere chilly frosts that pierce and blight

Unto thy fragile petals cling.

“LIKE butterflies our moments are;

They pass, and death is all our gain:

One April hour is sweeter far

Than all December’s gloomy reign.

“Dost seek a gift to give the gods?

Thy friend or thy beloved one?

Then weave a wreath wherein there nods

My blossoms—fairer there are none.”

’MID common grass within the wood,

Beloved flower, thou hast grown;

So simple, few have understood

What gives the prestige all thy own.

Thou hast no hues of morning star,

Nor tulip’s gaudy turbaned crest,

Nor clothed art thou as lilies are,

Nor in the rose’s splendor drest.

When in a wreath thy colors blend,

When comes thy sweet confiding sense

That friends—and more beloved than friend—

Shall give thee kindly preference?

“WITH pleasure friends my buds will greet,—

They see spring’s angel in my face;

For friendship dwells not in the heat,

But loves with me the shady place.

“Whether of Marion, beloved one,

Worthy I am, can’t tell before?

If she but looks this bud upon,

I’ll get a tear—if nothing more!”