“The Maiden” by James Gates Percival

by Ann Neilson

The Maiden
James Gates Percival
From The Dream of a Day, and Other Poems, pp. 98-99. Originally published in the Knickerbocker, March, 1835.

Ein schlichtes Mädchen nur,
Einfach und treu dem angebohrnen Stande,
War seine Welt diess Thal.—SCHINK.
Only a modest maiden,
Simple, and faithful to her native manners,
Was all her world this vale.

Solch einen Geist, in einem solchen Blicke,
Zeigt nur dein Lächeln uns.—VON FRIEDELBERG.
Such a soul, in such a look,
Thy smile alone reveals us.

Through a valley flows a gentle river,
Gently flows, with waters deep and clear;
In a flowery meadow, spreading near,
Silken leaves of slender poplars quiver.
There a quiet maiden singeth ever
Simple melodies of truth and love:
Pure and artless as the snowy dove,
Evil thought hath stained her bosom never.
Lovely, too, as rose but half unfolded;
Modest as that rose, when bent with dew:
Blue her eye, as heaven’s own softest hue;
Lip as fresh as living ruby moulded.
Smiles she hath that tell of sunny feeling—
Only smiles like hers such feeling tell:
Touch the chord of grief, and at the spell,
Tears of love and innocence are stealing.
Home and parent, kindred, friend and lover,
All embraced within this lonely vale—
All beyond is to her but a tale:
This her world, and heaven just arches over.