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I. THE PROMISE

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 p├Žan, 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.