Spring shall come, come again, calling up the moorfowl, Spring shall bring the sun and rain, bring the bees and flowers; Red shall the heather bloom over hill and valley, Soft flow the stream through the even-flowing hours; Fair the day shine as it shone on my childhood - Fair shine the day on the house with open door; Birds come and cry there and twitter in the chimney - But I go for ever and come again no more.
XVII - WINTER
IN rigorous hours, when down the iron lane The redbreast looks in vain For hips and haws, Lo, shining flowers upon my window-pane The silver pencil of the winter draws.
When all the snowy hill And the bare woods are still; When snipes are silent in the frozen bogs, And all the garden garth is whelmed in mire, Lo, by the hearth, the laughter of the logs - More fair than roses, lo, the flowers of fire!
THE stormy evening closes now in vain, Loud wails the wind and beats the driving rain, While here in sheltered house With fire-ypainted walls, I hear the wind abroad, I hark the calling squalls - 'Blow, blow,' I cry, 'you burst your cheeks in vain! Blow, blow,' I cry, 'my love is home again!'
Yon ship you chase perchance but yesternight Bore still the precious freight of my delight, That here in sheltered house With fire-ypainted walls, Now hears the wind abroad, Now harks the calling squalls. 'Blow, blow,' I cry, 'in vain you rouse the sea, My rescued sailor shares the fire with me!'
XIX - TO DR. HAKE (On receiving a Copy of Verses)
IN the beloved hour that ushers day, In the pure dew, under the breaking grey, One bird, ere yet the woodland quires awake, With brief reveille summons all the brake: Chirp, chirp, it goes; nor waits an answer long; And that small signal fills the grove with song.
Thus on my pipe I breathed a strain or two; It scarce was music, but 'twas all I knew. It was not music, for I lacked the art, Yet what but frozen music filled my heart?
Chirp, chirp, I went, nor hoped a nobler strain; But Heaven decreed I should not pipe in vain, For, lo! not far from there, in secret dale, All silent, sat an ancient nightingale. My sparrow notes he heard; thereat awoke; And with a tide of song his silence broke.
XX - TO -
I KNEW thee strong and quiet like the hills; I knew thee apt to pity, brave to endure, In peace or war a Roman full equipt; And just I knew thee, like the fabled kings Who by the loud sea-shore gave judgment forth, From dawn to eve, bearded and few of words. What, what, was I to honour thee? A child; A youth in ardour but a child in strength, Who after virtue's golden chariot-wheels Runs ever panting, nor attains the goal. So thought I, and was sorrowful at heart.
Since then my steps have visited that flood Along whose shore the numerous footfalls cease, The voices and the tears of life expire. Thither the prints go down, the hero's way Trod large upon the sand, the trembling maid's: Nimrod that wound his trumpet in the wood, And the poor, dreaming child, hunter of flowers, That here his hunting closes with the great: So one and all go down, nor aught returns.
For thee, for us, the sacred river waits, For me, the unworthy, thee, the perfect friend; There Blame desists, there his unfaltering dogs He from the chase recalls, and homeward rides; Yet Praise and Love pass over and go in. So when, beside that margin, I discard My more than mortal weakness, and with thee Through that still land unfearing I advance: If then at all we keep the touch of joy Thou shalt rejoice to find me altered - I, O Felix, to behold thee still unchanged.
THE morning drum-call on my eager ear Thrills unforgotten yet; the morning dew Lies yet undried along my field of noon.
But now I pause at whiles in what I do, And count the bell, and tremble lest I hear (My work untrimmed) the sunset gun too soon.
I HAVE trod the upward and the downward slope; I have endured and done in days before; I have longed for all, and bid farewell to hope; And I have lived and loved, and closed the door.