(U3A) Minstrels

carolers

MINSTRELS

The minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened? – till was paid
Respect to every inmate’s claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And “Merry Christmas” wished to all.

(William Wordsworth)

This poem describes some Christmas carolers who have stopped at Wordsworth’s house to play and sing their Christmas hymns. It is a cold night, but the music will go on. The minstrels are “stout and hardy” and they will keep on playing and singing, while the natural green of the laurels is transformed into a “rich and dazzling sheen” by a “lofty moon”. Following the British tradition of the time, the minstrels manage to put a blessing for each member of the house into their song.

 

I MENESTRELLI

I menestrelli suonavano la loro melodia natalizia
Stanotte sotto la grondaia della mia casetta
Mentre, colpiti dall’alta luna,
Gli allori tutt’attorno, pieni dii fogliame
Riflettevano una lucentezza ricca e abbagliante,
Da cui il loro verde naturale era sopraffatto.

Per tutta la valle e la collina la brezza
Era calata e riposava con le ali piegate:
L’aria era pungente , ma non poteva congelare
Né frenare la musica degli strumenti;
Così coraggiosa e resistente era la banda
Che grattava sugli accordi con mano agile.

E chi si limitava ad ascoltava? – Chi ritirava l’offerta pagata
Per soddisfare la richiesta di ogni ospite.
Perché si facessero i saluti e si suonasse la musica
In onore di ciascun membro di famiglia – il cui nome
Era debitamente scandito con pronuncia vigorosa- ;
E si augurasse “Buon Natale” a tutti.

(L.Z.)

 

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