AT THE ASCENSION
And wouldst Thou, Holy Shepherd, leave
Thy flock within this vale of woe
And solitude to grieve,
Whilst Thou through ambient skies aglow
Ascendst where death and sorrow cannot go!
But they — so blessed in the past,
Yet now with hearts afflicted sore—
Thy little ones, outcast,
Bereft of Thee their guide of yore—
Whither shall turn they when Thou leadst no more?
What now remains to glad the eyes
That once Thy comeliness have known?
What longer can they prize?
What voices, but discordant grown
To them who hearkened to Thy loving tone?
The waves of yon perturbed deep,
Whose hand shall curb? — Who now assuage
The blasts and bid them sleep?
In Thine eclipse, — what star presage
For our benighted bark the harborage?
Alas! swift cloud unpitying
That bidst our joys no more endure,
Whither thy silvery wing?
How rich the bliss thou dost secure!—
How beggared wilt thou leave us, how obscure!—
Fray Luis de León
Translation by Thomas Walsh