Listen, My Beloved by Henry van Dyke (10th November, 1852 – 10th April, 1933)
Listen, my beloved, while the silver morning, like a tranquil vision,
Fills the world around us and our hearts with peace;
Quiet is the close of Aristæus’ legend, happy is the ending–
Listen while I tell you how he found release.
Many months he wandered far away in sadness, desolately thinking
Only of the vanished joys he could not find;
Till the great Apollo, pitying his shepherd, loosed him from the burden
Of a dark, reluctant, backward–looking mind.
Then he saw around him all the changeful beauty of the changing seasons,
In the world–wide regions where his journey lay;
Birds that sang to cheer him, flowers that bloomed beside him, stars that
shone to guide him,–
Traveller’s joy was plenty all along the way!
Everywhere he journeyed strangers made him welcome, listened while he taught them
Secret lore of field and forest he had learned:
How to train the vines and make the olives fruitful; how to guard the sheepfolds;
How to stay the fever when the dog–star burned.
Friendliness and blessing followed in his footsteps; richer were the harvests,
Happier the dwellings, wheresoe’er he came;
Little children loved him, and he left behind him, in the hour of parting,
Memories of kindness and a god–like name.
So he travelled onward, desolate no longer, patient in his seeking,
Reaping all the wayside comfort of his quest;
Till at last in Thracia, high upon Mount Hæmus, far from human dwelling,
Weary Aristæus laid him down to rest.
Then the honey–makers, clad in downy whiteness, fluttered soft around him,
Wrapt him in a dreamful slumber pure and deep.
This is life, beloved: first a sheltered garden, then a troubled journey,
Joy and pain of seeking,–and at last we sleep!
The Violinist by Otto Scholderer (25th January, 1834 – 22nd January, 1902)