The Evening Of The Holiday

The Evening Of The Holiday

by Giacomo Leopardi

The Evening Of The Holiday

 

The night is mild and clear, and without wind,

And o’er the roofs, and o’er the gardens round

The moon shines soft, and from afar reveals

Each mountain-peak serene. O lady, mine,

Hushed now is every path, and few and dim

The lamps that glimmer through the balconies.

Thou sleepest! in thy quiet rooms, how light

And easy is thy sleep! No care thy heart

Consumes; and little dost thou know or think,

How deep a wound thou in my heart hast made.

Thou sleepest; I to yonder heaven turn,

That seems to greet me with a loving smile,

And to that Nature old, omnipotent,

That doomed me still to suffer. “I to thee

All hope deny,” she said, “e’en hope; nor may

Those eyes of thine e’er shine, save through their tears.”

 

This was a holiday; its pleasures o’er,

Thou seek’st repose; and happy in thy dreams

Recallest those whom thou hast pleased to-day,

And those who have pleased thee: not I, indeed,—

I hoped it not,—unto thy thoughts occur.

Meanwhile, I ask, how much of life remains

To me; and on the earth I cast myself,

And cry, and groan. How wretched are my days,

And still so young! Hark, on the road I hear,

Not far away, the solitary song

Of workman, who returns at this late hour,

In merry mood, unto his humble home;

And in my heart a cruel pang I feel,

At thought, how all things earthly pass away,

And leave no trace behind. This festal day

Hath fled; a working-day now follows it,

And all, alike, are swept away by Time.

Where is the glory of the antique nations now?

Where now the fame of our great ancestors?

The empire vast of Rome, the clash of arms?

Now all is peace and silence, all the world

At rest; their very names are heard no more.

E’en from my earliest years, when we

Expect so eagerly a holiday,

The moment it was past, I sought my couch,

Wakeful and sad; and at the midnight hour,

When I the song heard of some passer-by,

That slowly in the distance died away,

The same deep anguish felt I in my heart.

 

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