Monthly Special * January 2006
 Robert Bridges



When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
  Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
  Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
  All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
  And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled--marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
  The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
  Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
  Or rioted in a drift, ;lunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
'O look at the trees!' they cried, 'O look at the trees!'
  With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
  When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
  For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
  But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm
    they have broken.



人がみな眠るころ 雪が舞い、
大きなぼたん雪が 茶色の街に落ちてくる、
音もなく 絶え間なく 落ちてはふわりとつもり
ゆっくりと ひっきりなしに 漂い落ちて 落ちて。
  そっと篩をふるうように 街路をおおう、屋根も 柵も、
違いを隠し でこぼこをならし、
すみにも 隙間にも そっと舞い込み 漂い込んで。
  一晩中降って 七寸ほどにも
深く 軽く ふんわりとつもった頃に
高く凍る空から 雲が飛び去った。
  人はみな いつもより早起き、冬の夜明けの
いつにない明るさに、見慣れぬ 地上の輝きに。
見ては驚く――目も眩む白さに 驚く、
  耳を傾け 荘厳な大気の静けさを聴く、
とどろく車輪の音も 街路に落ちる足音もなく、
騒がしい朝の呼び売り声も かすかに細く。
  子供らが声をあげ 学校への道々
  吹きだまりで騒ぎ 膝までうもれ、
白い苔がついたような不思議な形を 見上げては
  積み荷を減らした荷車が ギィギィ まごまご、
真っ白の 何もない道、
ばらばらと伸びた 田舎びとの列を追う。
  太陽はもう 弱いといえども 顔を出し
生真面目な男たちが 列になり いく人もいく人も、
  そんな彼らも 心配事はしばし置いて 心遊ばせ、
日頃の苦しみ悲しみも 美景を目にして 眠っている、
かけられていた呪いを といてしまったから。


Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

Robert Bridges については May 2004 を参照のこと。

for the charm /they have broken. < for they have broken the charm