“Like As the Lark”

Quale allodetta che in aere si spazia	
Prima cantando, e poi tace, contenta,	
Dell’ ultima dolcezza che la sazia.	
DANTE: Paradiso, XX.
  LIKE as the lark that, soaring higher and higher,		
Singeth awhile, then stops as ’t were content		
  With his last sweetness, having filled desire,		
So paused our bard; not for his force was spent,		
  Nor that a string was loosened in his lyre,	
But, having said his best and done his best,		
  He could not better what was given before,		
And threescore years and ten, demanding rest,		
  Whispered, They want thee on the other shore!		
And now he walks amid the learned throng,	
  Haply with him who was the sixth of those		
Who towered above the multitude in song,		
  Or by the side of Geoffrey Chaucer goes,		
Who shall remember with his wonted smile		
How James found music in his antique style.	
But we ’ll not mingle fancies with our sorrow		
Nor from his own imagination borrow;		
Holmes, who is left us, best could speak his praise		
Who knew his heart so well and loved his lays,		
And whom Heaven crowns with greater length of days.
Thomas William Parsons [1819-1892]