THE VALLEY OF THE HEAVENS
Resplendent precinct of the skies,
Fair sward of gladness neither snow
Nor parching breath of noonday tries,
Domain whose sacred uplands show
Its peace ungarnered deathlessly aglow!
His brows in white and azure crowned
Athwart its pastures softly wends,
O flock endeared with thee around,
The Holy Shepherd; thee He tends
Unarmed with staff or sling where naught offends.
He leads, and happy sheep o'erflow
Around Him in a loving feud,
Where the immortal roses blow
And verdure ever is renewed
Howe'er the flock may graze, in plenitude.
And now upon the mountain ways
Of Bliss He guides; now by the stream
To bathe them in His grace He strays;
Now grants them banqueting agleam—
Himself the Giver and the Gift Supreme.
And when the eye of noon attains
The zenith of its fiery powers,
Amid His fondlings He remains
To drowse away the torrid hours
And cheer with voice serene the holy bowers.
He wakes the viol's melting tone
And sweetness trembles through the soul
Unto such golden joy unknown;
Enraptured then beyond control
It casts itself on Him, its only goal.
O Breath! O Voice!—mightst Thou ordain
Some little echo for my breast
That—self-surrendering in that strain
To Thee—of Thee 'twould be possest
O Love, and on Thy shoulder find its rest!
Where Thou dost linger at the noon,
Sweet Spouse, Oh, would my spirit knew!—
And breaking from this prison swoon,
Of Thy far flocks might come in view
And stray no more, save paths Thou leadst them through.
Fray Luis de León
Translation by Thomas Walsh