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

Anastasius Grün (1806–1876)

The Last Poet

Translation of Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham

“WHEN will your bards be weary

Of rhyming on? How long

Ere it is sung and ended,

The old, eternal song?

“Is it not long since empty,

The horn of full supply;

And all the posies gathered,

And all the fountains dry?”

As long as the sun’s chariot

Yet keeps its azure track,

And but one human visage

Gives answering glances back;

As long as skies shall nourish

The thunderbolt and gale,

And frightened at their fury,

One throbbing heart shall quail;

As long as after tempests

Shall spring one showery bow,

One breast with peaceful promise

And reconcilement glow;

As long as night the concave

Sows with its starry seed,

And but one man those letters

Of golden writ can read;

Long as a moonbeam glimmers,

Or bosom sighs a vow;

Long as the wood-leaves rustle

To cool a weary brow;

As long as cypress shadows

The graves more mournful make,

Or one cheek’s wet with weeping,

Or one poor heart can break;—

So long on earth shall wander

The goddess Poesy,

And with her, one exulting

Her votarist to be.

And singing on, triumphing,

The old earth-mansion through,

Out marches the last minstrel;—

He is the last man too.

The Lord holds the creation

Forth in his hand meanwhile,

Like a fresh flower just opened,

And views it with a smile.

When once this Flower Giant

Begins to show decay,

And earths and suns are flying

Like blossom-dust away;

Then ask,—if of the question

Not weary yet,—“How long

Ere it is sung and ended,

The old, eternal song?”