Liberty, a Canzonet to Nysa
Specimen of translation from Metastasio
Thanks to thy pow’r of giving pain,
Nysa, at length I breathe again;
At length Heav’n pities me,
For now I feel thy snares are brok,
My soul shakes off the lover’s yoke
Nor dreams of Liberty.
No ardor now — calm is my breast,
So calm that nought of love suppressed
’Neath anger’s mask is seen.
No more my changing color tells
I hear thy name, no longer swells
My heart to meet its queen.
I sleep, thou’rt not in ev’ry dream —
I wake, but thou art not the theme
That fills my earliest thought.
I wander far, nor wish thee near;
And by thy presence, once so dear,
Nor pain nor pleasure’s brought.
Unmov’d I dwell upon thy charms;
No self-reproach my heart alarms
To think I did thee wrong;
Confus’d no more when thou draw’st nigh,
E’en to my rival’s self can I
Of thee the tale prolong.
Glance upon me thy looks disdain,
Or kindly speakst thou, all is vain,
Thy favor or thy scorn;
No more those lips shall I obey,
No more those eyes shall know the way
They to my heart had torn.
Whate’er shall joy or pain me now,
Be smiles or gloom upon my brow,
’Tis nor thy gift nor fault:
Without thee pleases now the grove,
The hill, the mead, with thee I move
Tired, where no joys exalt.
I own my shame — to break the dart
Thou there had fix’d, it rent my heart —
It almost kill’d to cure:
But, from oppression, grief and pain
T’escape, and all himself regain,
What cannot Man endure?
The bird that’s caught in limy snares
Struggling for flight his plumage tears
But freely darts away;
His feathers lost restor’d by time,
He cautious grows, lest treach’rous lime
Again his flight betray.
I know thy think’st my former flame
Still burns — that lovers thus declaim —
That cure would end my song:
No — ’tis the nat’ral wish to tell
Of risks and scapes that erst befell
Makes me the verse prolong.
I now relate, the trial o’er,
My suff’rings — thus of wounds he bore
The scars the warrior shows:
Thus blithe the slave set free displays
The cruel chain that many days
He dragged mid scorn and woes.
I speak, content with that alone,
Nor care, so easy am I grown,
If I’m believ’d by thee;
Nor ask, if thou approv’st the line,
Nor if tranquility is thine
Whene’er thou talk’st of me.
You lose a heart sincere — I go
Far from a faithless girl, nor know
Who first need comfort ask:
No more you’ll meet a love so true —
To find a nymph as false as you
Will be an easy task.