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SINGING IN WINTER

Oh light of heart and wing,
Light-hearted and light-wing√ęd, that dost cheer
With song of sprightliest note the waning year,
Thou canst so blithely sing,
That we must only chide our own dull heart,
If in thy music we can bear no part.

 

Thy haunts are winter-bare,
The leaves in which thou didst so lately keep
Are being trodden to a miry heap;
But thou art void of care,
And singest not the less, or rather thou
Hast kep thy best and boldest notes till now.

 

Thou art so bold to sing
Thy sweetest music in the saddest hour,
Because thy trust is in the love and power,
Which can bring back the spring,
Which can array the naked groves again,
And paint with seasonable flowers the plain.

 

But we are merely sad,
Whenas for us this earthly life has shed
The leaves that once arrayed it; and instead
Of rich boughs, foliage-clad,
A few bare sticks and twigs stand nakedly,
Fronting against the cold and angry sky.

 

Yet would we only see
That hope and joy, the growth of lower earth,
Fall from us, that another truer birth
Of the same things may be;
That the new buds are travelling up behind,
Though hid as yet beneath the naked rind,

 

We should not then resign
All gladness, when spring promises depart,
But 'mid our wintriest bareness should find heart
To join our songs with thine,
Strong to fulfil, in spirit and in voice,
That hardest of all precepts--to rejoice.