Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Two Danish 'rosebud' poems - by Ambrosius Stub (1705-58) and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75)

You rosebud sweet and fair

        You rosebud sweet and fair!
Close to, let me inspect you!
Each man must needs respect you,
        In you all nature’s art
        And splendour dwell apart;
Each petal’s coloured feather
Leaves us uncertain whether
        Apparel neat and trim
        Says more than splendour’s whim:
A maze where coloured petals –
In paths where each unsettles –
        Add fragrance to the air;
        You rosebud sweet and fair!

        Today, alas, you’re gone,
But yesterday with pleasure
I viewed your thorn-borne treasure;
        I plucked you, whereupon
        Today, alas, you’re gone.
Your bright shades fade and pall
Your dull red tells me all
        Your glory is but brief
        Your beauty held in fief;
You jewel of nature’s crown,
Where now is your fine gown?
        Your blossoming is done,
        Today, alas, you’re gone.

        Come, Phyllis, come and see
My rose does now invite you;
Your beauty won’t requite you;
        Come, Phyllis, come and see!
        Your image view quite freely!
All that’s a source of pleasure
Cheeks crimson beyond measure,
        That mouth, its honeyed ploy
        Those eyes, their sparkling joy
That neat body, those neat hands
That every favour do command
        Do fade; come, Phyllis, see
        Your image view quite freely!

        One beauty outlasts others –
When all else only withers –
And years and age outweathers,
        And gains eternal vales
        One beauty never fails.
Virtue, Phyllis, its name,
Seek it ere time’s no claim!
        And that a spirit true
        May dwell as is its due,
Live but to praise your maker
In virtue be its taker!
        So when all else does wither,
        Your beauty lasts forever.


Rosebud, ever firm and round,
Like a young girl’s lips so sound!
When I kiss you, as my bride,
lovelier still you open wide.
One more kiss your lips inspire -
        feel my heart’s fire!

I must straightway have confessed:
No lips have I ever kissed!
No girl waits with heart so true,
rose, my kiss must be for you!
Ah, my yearning ne’er will tire -
        feel my heart’s fire!

With each kiss you gain a song,
when as dust you lie ere long,
may the song recall to view
no one kissed me, none but you.
Your kiss only is love’s lyre -
        feel my heart’s fire!

Denmark’s daughters, at my grave,
say for every song I gave:
‘Him indeed should kisses sate!’
Well said, truly, but too late -
While I live reward me higher.
        Kiss me on fire!

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