Still lingers in the furrow, running down
The mountain's face, a streak of Winter's snow,
Unwilling, yet, with feeble tears to go
From where it long has lain. The hoary crown
The sun has filched, and sorrow's tokens drown
A chastened beauty, yet the Earth shall show
A fairer sight when all her flowers blow
Beneath the smile that follows on the frown.
Joy after sorrow; gloom that brightness shuns;
Life after death and motion after pause;
Returning vigour with returning suns;
Hope rising, quickened by undying laws,
Still witness to a deathless, sleepless Cause
Controlling ever--so their message runs.
II. THE GRADUAL SPRING
Bird voices gather volume day by day
Where wind-flowers whiten under naked boughs,
The trusted confidants of early vows
And nesting schemes. Here a precocious spray,
Leafless and black, with crowded bloom is gay:
In that warm nook the Celandine allows
Her golden stars to glisten: now endows,
The Primrose, with pale gold, each woody way.
Skies of intenser blue provoke earth's green,
In loving rivalry, to clothe her woods:
The hedgerows brighten with their leafy buds
Ere yet the Hawthorn's snowy wreath is seen:
Now anxious parent birds and clamant broods
Declare that Winter is not, but has been.
III. THE COMING OF SPRING, 1889
Blue, green, and such a stream of shifting gold
And softest shadow, falling everywhere
And not abiding; palpitating air,
And hum of life from voices manifold
Fused in one pæan, hinting things untold,
Unframed by those lips even, trembling there
Beneath the gleaming eyes and rippling hair,
Of her whose love has touched the sullen cold.
I lay in dreamless sleep; my blood was dull
With that drear influence, which surely numbs,
Of Winter long protracted, week on week--
And Spring was here, my sweet bride-beautiful;
She came, as one on tip-toe softly comes,
And woke me with a kiss on either cheek.