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Or where, like those strange semblances we find
That age to childhood bind,
The elm puts on, as if in Nature's scorn,
The brown of Autumn corn.
As yet the turf is dark, although you know
That, not a span below,
A thousand germs are groping through the gloom,
And soon will burst their tomb.
Already, here and there, on frailest stems
Appear some azure gems,
Small as might deck, upon a gala day,
The forehead of a fay.
In gardens you may note amid the dearth,
The crocus breaking earth;
And near the snowdrop's tender white and green,
The violet in its screen.
But many gleams and shadows needs must pass
Along the budding grass,
And weeks go by, before the enamored South
Shall kiss the rose's mouth.
Still there's a sense of blossoms yet unborn
In the sweet airs of morn;
One almost looks to see the very street
Grow purple at his feet.
At times a fragrant breeze comes floating by,
And brings, you know not why,
A feeling as when eager crowds await
Before a palace gate.
Some wondrous pageant; and you scarce would start,
If from a beech's heart
A blue-eyed Dryad, stepping forth, should say,
“Behold me! I am May!”
Henry Timrod (1829–1867]
THE MEADOWS IN SPRING 'Tis a dull sight
To see the year dying, When winter winds Set the yellow wood sighing:
Sighing, oh! sighing.
When such a time cometh,
I do retire
Into an old room
Beside a bright fire:
Oh, pile a bright fire!
And there I sit
Reading old things,
Of knights and lorn damsels,
While the wind sings-
Oh, drearily sings!
I never look out
Nor attend to the blast;
For all to be seen
Is the leaves falling fast:
But close at the hearth,
Like a cricket, sit I, Reading of summer And chivalry
Then with an old friend
I talk of our youth!
How 'twas gladsome, but often
But gladsome, gladsome! Or to get merry
We sing some old rhyme, That made the wood ring again In summer time
Sweet summer time!
I jump up, like mad,
Break the old pipe in twain,
And away to the meadows,
The meadows again!
Edward Fitzgerald (1809–1883]
THE WISTFUL DAYS
What is there wanting in the Spring?
The air is soft as yester-year;
The happy-nested green is here,
And half the world is on the wing.
The morning beckons, and like balm
Are westward waters blue and calm.
Yet something's wanting in the Spring.
What is it wanting in the Spring?
O April, lover to us all,
What is so poignant in thy thrall
When children's merry voices ring?
What haunts us in the cooing dove
More subtle than the speech of Love,
What nameless lack or loss of Spring?
Let Youth go dally with the Spring,
Call her the dear, the fair, the young;
And all her graces ever sung
Let him, once more rehearsing, sing.
They know, who keep a broken tryst,
Till something from the Spring be missed
We have not truly known the Spring.
Robert Underwood Johnson (1853–
From “The Earthly Paradise” SLAYER of winter, art thou here again? O welcome, thou that bring'st the summer nigh! The bitter wind makes not thy victory vain, Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky. Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dry Make April ready for the throstle's song, Thou first redresser of the winter's wrong!
Yea, welcome, March! and though I die ere June,
Yet for the hope of life I give thee praise,
Striving to swell the burden of the tune
That even now I hear thy brown birds raise,
Unmindful of the past or coming days;
Who sing, “O joy! a new year is begun!
What happiness to look upon the sun!”
O, what begetteth all this storm of bliss,
But Death himself, who, crying solemnly,
Even from the heart of sweet Forgetfulness,
Bids us, “Rejoice! lest pleasureless ye die.
Within a little time must ye go by.
Stretch forth your open hands, and, while ye live,
Take all the gifts that Death and Life may give.”
William Morris (1834-1896]
SONG IN MARCH
Now are the winds about us in their glee,
Tossing the slender tree;
Whirling the sands about his furious car,
March cometh from afar;
Breaks the sealed magic of old Winter's dreams,
And rends his glassy streams;
Chafing with potent airs, he fiercely takes
Their fetters from the lakes,
And, with a power by queenly Spring supplied,
Wakens the slumbering tide.
With a wild love he seeks young Summer's charms
And clasps her to his arms;
Lifting his shield between, he drives away.
Old Winter from his prey;-
The ancient tyrant whom he boldly braves,
Goes howling to his caves;
And, to his northern realm compelled to fly,
Yields up the victory;
Melted are all his bands, o'erthrown his towers,
And March comes bringing flowers.
William Gilmore Simms (1806–1870]
BLOSSOM on the plum,
Wild wind and merry;
Leaves upon the cherry,
And one swallow come.