The Poplar Field

Translated from William Cowper's English into Latin by Daniel Schwennicke, Merton College, University of Oxford
Quid mea carmina possunt?
Populeum nemus excisum est; frondosa valeto
umbra columnarum! nec iam stridentibus alis
ludunt in foliis Zephyri gelidoque susurro
cantant nec specie fluvialis lympha renidet.
gramine non oculos bis sex labentibus annis
iuvit ager nostros. iam iam qua consita ripa
en arbusta iacent passim deiecta per herbam

atque sedile coma est cuius sub tegmine sedi.

et merula e mediis coryleti ut quareret umbram
aestibus effugit, nidum procul inde locavit,

et nemus omne silet quondam dulcedine plenum
nec iam blanda meum pertemptant carmina pectus.
sed velut arboribus fugit inreparabile tempus

et nobis, humili requiescam in funere semper:

ante caput lapis infelix, in pectore siccus

caespes erit dum silva loco nova surget eodem.
talia conspiciens hominis mecum ipse voluto
gaudia quae pereunt: sua vita simillima sommo est;
at tanto brevius quo gaudeat esse videtur.


English Verse
The Poplars are fell’d, farewell to the shade 

And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade,
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.
Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a view
Of my favourite field and the bank where they grew,
And now in the grass behold they are laid, 

And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.
The black-bird has fled to another retreat 

Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charm’d me before,
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.
My fugitive years are all hasting away, 

And I must e’er long lie as lowly as they, 

With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head

E’er another such grove shall arise in its stead.
‘Tis a sight to engage me if any thing can 

To muse on the perishing pleasures of Man;

Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a Being less durable even than he.