Ye Linnets Let Us Try Beneath This Grove
Ye linnets, let us try, beneath this grove,
Which shall be loudest in our Maker’s praise!
In quest of some forlorn retreat I rove,
For all the world is blind, and wanders from his ways.
That God alone should prop the sinking soul,
Fills them with rage against his empire now:
I traverse earth in vain from pole to pole,
To seek one simple heart, set free from all below.
They speak of love, yet little feel its sway,
While in their bosom many an idol lurks;
Their base desires, well satisfied, obey,
Leave the Creator’s hand, and lean upon his works.
‘Tis therefore I can dwell with man no more;
Your fellowship, ye warblers! suits me best:
Pure love has lost its price, though prized of yore,
Profaned by modern tongues, and slighted as a jest.
My God, who formed you for his praise alone,
Beholds his purpose well fulfilled in you;
Come, let us join the choir before his throne,
Partaking in his praise with spirits just and true.
Yes, I will always love; and, as I ought,
Tune to the praise of love my ceaseless voice;
Preferring love too vast for human thought,
In spite of erring men, who cavil at my choice.
Why have I not a thousand thousand hearts,
Lord of my soul! that they might all be thine?
If thou approve-the zeal thy smile imparts,
How should it ever fail! can such a fire decline?
Love, pure and holy, is a deathless fire;
Its object heavenly, it must ever blaze:
Eternal love a God must needs inspire,
When once he wins the heart, and fits it for his praise.
Selflove dismissed-’tis then we live indeed-
In her embrace, death, only death is found:
Come, then, one noble effort, and succeed,
Cast off the chain of self with which thy soul is bound.
Oh! I could cry, that all the world might hear,
Ye selftormentors, love your God alone;
Let his unequalled excellence be dear,
Dear to your inmost souls, and make him all your own!
They hear me not-alas! how fond to rove
In endless chase of folly’s specious lure!
‘Tis here alone, beneath this shady grove,
I taste the sweets of truth-here only am secure.
Translations from the French of Madame de la Mothe Guion