by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)
Translation by Anonymous / Unidentified Author

Beside the ungathered rice he lay
Language: English 
Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
   His sickle in his hand;
His breast was bare, his matted hair
   Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
   He saw his Native Land.

Wide through the landscape of his dreams
   The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
   Once more a king he strode;
And heard the tinkling caravans
   Descend the mountain-road.

He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
   Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
   They held him by the hand!--
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
   And fell into the sand.

And then at furious [speed]1 he rode
   Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,
   And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
   Smiting his stallion's flank.

Before him, like a blood-red flag,
   The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
   O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
   And the ocean rose to view.

At night he heard the lion roar,
   And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
   Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
   Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,
   Shouted of liberty;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
   With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled
   At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver's whip,
   Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
   And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul
   Had broken and thrown away!

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View original text (without footnotes)
1: Coleridge-Taylor: "pace"

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in Swedish (Svenska), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist , "Slavens dröm" ; composed by Emil Sjögren.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2010-04-12
Line count: 48
Word count: 288

Slavens dröm
Language: Swedish (Svenska)  after the English 
Vid ett böljande risfält han sig lagt 
med skäran i mattad hand; 
hans barn var bar, hans krusiga hår, 
begravet djupt i sand. 
I drömmarnes tåg igen han såg 
sitt fjärran fosterland.

Den majestätiska Nigern flöt, 
än lika ståtlig och ung, 
han själv under palmernas skuggande tak 
stod hög och stolt en kung; 
och på höjden vid klockornas muntra klang 
karavanen strävade tung.

Han såg sin svartögda drottning igen bland 
barnen vid flodens strand, 
hur de jublade gladt, hur de kysste hans kind, 
hur de flögo kring hals och hand. 
Och från drömmarens öga bröt en tår och 
för svann i glödande sand.

Sen vid Nigerns höga svallande brädd 
han red i ilande språng, 
han tyglade djärvt sin eldiga häst med 
av guld en kedja lång, 
hans blixtrande klinga slamrade stolt 
mot springarn gång på gång.

Framföre lik en blodröd flagg 
den vackra flamingon drog; 
från morgon till natt han följde dess flygt 
i tät tamarinderskog, 
tills de bruna kaffernas hyddor han såg 
och havet som stormande slog.

Han lyddes vid midnatt till lejonens vrål 
och till hyenans skri, 
han lyddes när flåsande flodhäst drog 
i rasslande säv förbi, 
och där ljödo som segrande trummors 
dån i drömmarens fantasi.

Ur skogen med tusende tungor det ljöd 
om frihet, om frihet en sång, 
och öknens stormar brusade vilt, 
förutan hinder och tvång. 
I drömmen han skrek av glädje högt 
och log och grät på en gång.

Hankände ej dagens hetta och kvalm, 
ej höjda piskan han såg; 
ty döden bestrålat hans drömmars land, 
och den livlösa kroppen låg. 
En försliten boja, som själen sprängt, 
på sitt jublande fria tåg.

Authorship

Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Researcher for this text: Johann Winkler

This text was added to the website: 2020-09-29
Line count: 48
Word count: 268