LOVE Imitated from Florian

Imitated from Florian [1] 

Alas! how cruel are the cares of Love,
But the cold void, which souls unfeeling prove,
Is far more cruel, and the gaudy toys
Which pride and grandeur offer us for joys,
With vanity's alluring, empty train5
Of pleasures, are not worth love's tender pain.
He on whom fortune lavishes her store
'Till greedy avarice can ask no more,
Whom slaves surround, whom honors seem to bless
Oft feels a void more painful than distress.10
He then looks back upon his humbler years,
Regretted youth to memory's eye appears.
The tender pleasures which his heart had known
When love and innocence were all his own.
Tho' fortune frowned upon his state obscure,15
Perhaps despised, and indigently poor,
Yet Love was his - and its remembrance sweet,
Tho' but remembrance -- yields him charms more great
Than all the enjoyments of the present hour
Tho' heaped with riches, and adorned with power.20
Oh Love! 'tis thou alone canst fill the heart,
Thou only canst can a pure delight impart,
Secure of each joy which fills the ravished mind
While sacred virtue to thy path is joined;
Oh! may she still walk ever at thy side25
Be thou her comforter, and she thy guide;
Offspring of Heaven! Oh! may you never leave
Each other's path, but mutual aid receive.
And if misfortunes in your road you meet
Or thorny cares perplex your wandering feet,30
Still sooth each other thro' the painful way,
And never, never from each other stray!
Let not these woes your peace serene destroy,
They soon shall pass -- and pure unmingled joy
With added lustre thro' the envious night35
Shall shed around your path celestial light,
While soft reflecton on distress endured
Shall add new charms unto your bliss secured.
So when the storms are past, and beating rains
No more descend in torrents o'er the plains,40
A fresher verdure o'er the land is seen
While liquid pearls adorn the brilliant green,
The glowing flowers now raise the drooping head
And o'er the lands a richer fragrance shed.
With sweeter songs the birds from every spray45
Bless the returning sun's enlivening ray,
And every charm the various scents bestow
Reviving with redoubled beauties glow.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Love Imitated from Florian" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is not dated in Verses. It presents a verse translation of the first two paragraphs of the second chapter of Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian's 1788 Estelle (“The heartaches of love are cruel, but the calm of an insensitive heart is greater”):

Ils sont cruels les chagrins d'amour; mais le calme d'un coeur insensible l'est davantage. Les plaisirs mêmes que donnent la grandeur, les richesses, la vanité, ne valent pas les peines des amants. L'homme au faite des honneurs, entouré de trésors, environné d'esclaves, tourne ses regards avec complaisance sur ses prèmieres années: il était pauvre alors, mais il aimait; ce seul souvenir est plus doux pour lui que toutes les jouissances de la fortune. Amour, toi seul remplis notre âme, toi seul es la source de tous les biens, tant que la vertu s'accorde avec toi. Ah! qu'elle soit toujours ton guide, et que tu sois son consolateur! Ne vous quittez jamais, enfants du ciel; marchez ensemble en vous tenant la main. Si vous rencontrez dans votre route les chagrins ou les malheurs, soutenez-vous mutuellement.

Ils passeront, ces malheurs, et la félicité dont vous jouirez en aura cent fois plus de charmes; le souvenir des peines passées rendra plus louchants vos plaisirs. C'est ainsi qu'après un orage on trouve plus vert le gazon, plus riante la campagne couverte de perles liquides, plus belles les fleurs des champs relevant leurs têtes penchées; et l'on écoute avec plus de délices l'alouette ou le rossignol, qui chantent en secouant leurs ailes.