Роберт Блумфилд (Robert Bloomfield)

Текст оригинала на английском языке

The Soldier's Return to His Home

My untried muse shall no high tone assume,
Nor strut in arms — farewell, my cap and plume!
Brief be my verse, a task within my power;
I tell my feelings in one happy hour:
But what an hour was that! when from the main
I reach'd this lovely valley once again!
A glorious harvest fill'd my eager sight,
Half shock'd, half waving in a flood of light;
On that poor cottage roof where I was born,
The sun look'd down as in life's early morn.
I gazed around, but not a soul appear'd;
I listen'd on the threshold, nothing heard;
I call'd my father thrice, but no one came,
It was not fear or grief that shook my frame,
But an o'erpowering sense of peace and home,
Of toils gone by, perhaps of joys to come.
The door invitingly stood open wide;
I shook my dust, and set my staff aside.

How sweet it was to breathe that cooler air
And take possession of my father's chair!
Beneath my elbow, on the solid frame,
Appear'd the rough initials of my name,
Cut forty years before! the same old clock
Struck the same bell, and gave my heart a shock
I never can forget.  A short breeze sprung,
And, while a sigh was trembling on my tongue,
Caught the old dangling almanacs behind,
And up they flew, like banners in the wind;
Then gently, singly, down, down, down they went,
And told of twenty years that I had spent
Far from my native land.  That instant came
A robin on the threshold; though so tame,
At first he look'd distrustful, almost shy,
And cast on me his coal-black steadfast eye,
And seem'd to say (past friendship to renew),
"Ah, ha! old worn-out soldier, is it you?"
Through the room ranged th' imprison'd humble bee,
And boomb'd, and bounced, and struggled to be free;
Dashing against the panes with sullen roar,
That threw their diamond sunlight on the floor;
That floor, clean sanded, where my fancy stray'd,
O'er undulating waves the broom had made;
Reminding me of those hideous forms
That met us as we pass'd the Cape of Storms,
Where high and loud they break, and peace comes never;
They roll and foam, and roll and foam for ever.
But here was peace, that peace which home can yield;
The grasshopper, the partridge in the field,
And ticking clock, were all at once become
The substitute for clarion, fife, and drum.
While thus I mused, still gazing, gazing still,
On beds of moss my eyes had ever seen,
Had been so lovely, brilliant, fresh, and green,
And guess'd some infant hand had placed it there,
And prized its hue, so exquisite, so rare.
Feelings on feelings mingling, doubling rose;
My heart felt everything but calm repose;
I could not reckon minutes, hours, nor years,
But rose at once, and bursted into tears;
Then, like a fool, confused, sat down again,
And thought upon the past with shame and pain;
I raved at war and all its horrid cost,
And glory's quagmire, where the brave are lost.
On carnage, fire, and plunder long I mused,
And cursed the murdering weapons I had used.

Two shadows then I saw, two voices heard,
One bespoke age, and one a child's appear'd.
In stepp'd my father with convulsive start,
And in an instant clasp'd me to his heart.
Close by him stood a little blue-eyed maid;
And stooping to the child, the old man said,
"Come hither, Nancy, kiss me once again.
This is your uncle Charles, come home from Spain."
The child approach'd, and with her fingers light
Stroked my old eyes, almost deprived of sight.
But why thus spin my tale — thus tedious be?
Happy old soldier! what's the world to me?

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