Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE STUDENT, by JOHANN LUDWIG UHLAND

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE STUDENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As by salamanca's city
Last Line: Travelled with me, ever near.
Subject(s): Echo (mythology); Homer (10th Century B.c.); Poetry & Poets; Schools; Iliad; Odyssey; Students

As by Salamanca's city,
Once I sate within the vale;
And while birds were round me singing,
Read in Homer's master tale,

How in gay and rich apparel,
Helen mounted Ilion's wall;
And so wond'rous seemed her beauty
To the Trojan elders all,

That each greybeard to his neighbour
Muttered, gazing on her face:
'Trust me, never was there woman
Seen so fair of earthly race!'

And I deeper read and deeper,
Marking nought that passed around,
Till the leaves beside me rustled,
Then I started at the sound.

On a neighbouring balcony,
What a wonder there I saw!
There in gay and rich apparel
Stood a maid like Helena.

And an old man was beside her,
With so strange, yet kind a mien;
That I could have sworn -- the elder
Had of Priam's counsel been.

Then I was a bold Achaian,
For from that remember'd day,
Ever near the haunted dwelling,
Like another Troy, I lay.

Simply to relate my story --
Many a week of summer long,
Came I every evening thither,
With my lute and with my song;

Told in many a mournful ditty
All my love and all my pain,
Till from out the lofty lattice
Came a sweet response again.

Thus exchanging word and music
Passed we half the fleeting year --
Even this was only granted
While the dotard did not hear.

Often from his couch he wandered
Restless, jealous, and awake;
But unheard by him our voices,
As the songs the planets make.

But at last -- the night was fearful,
Starless, gloomy as the grave --
To my well-accustomed signal
No response the loved one gave;

Only one old toothless lady
Heard me evermore complain --
Only that old maiden, Echo,
Sent me back my call again.

Vanished was my love -- my beauty;
Empty chamber, room, and hall;
Empty was the blooming garden --
Cold and desolate were all!

Ah! and ne'er had I discover'd
Where her home, or what her name;
For by word and sign she threaten'd
Never to disclose the same.

Then I went about to seek her,
Far and near, my lot to try;
Homer's tale I left behind me,
For Ulysses' self was I!

But I took my lute to guide me,
And beside each castle door,
Under every lattice window,
Made I music as before;

Sang the strain in field and city
Which, in Salamanca's grove,
Every evening I had chanted
As a signal to my love;

But the hoped-for, longed-for answer
Came not back to bless my ear,
Only that old lady, Echo,
Travelled with me, ever near.

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