. . .
It is the season now to go About the country high and low, Among the lilacs hand in hand, And two by two in fairy land.
The brooding boy, the sighing maid, Wholly fain and half afraid, Now meet along the hazel'd brook To pass and linger, pause and look.
A year ago, and blithely paired, Their rough-and-tumble play they shared; They kissed and quarrelled, laughed and cried, A year ago at Eastertide.
With bursting heart, with fiery face, She strove against him in the race; He unabashed her garter saw, That now would touch her skirts with awe.
Now by the stile ablaze she stops, And his demurer eyes he drops; Now they exchange averted sighs Or stand and marry silent eyes.
And he to her a hero is And sweeter she than primroses; Their common silence dearer far Than nightingale and mavis are.
Now when they sever wedded hands, Joy trembles in their bosom-strands And lovely laughter leaps and falls Upon their lips in madrigals.
V - THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL
A NAKED HOUSE, A NAKED MOOR, A SHIVERING POOL BEFORE THE DOOR, A GARDEN BARE OF FLOWERS AND FRUIT AND POPLARS AT THE GARDEN FOOT: SUCH IS THE PLACE THAT I LIVE IN, BLEAK WITHOUT AND BARE WITHIN.
Yet shall your ragged moor receive The incomparable pomp of eve, And the cold glories of the dawn Behind your shivering trees be drawn; And when the wind front place to place Doth the unmoored cloud-galleons chase, Your garden gloom and gleam again, With leaping sun, with glancing rain. Here shall the wizard moon ascend The heavens, in the crimson end Of day's declining splendour; here The army of the stars appear. The neighbour hollows dry or wet, Spring shall with tender flowers beset; And oft the morning muser see Larks rising from the broomy lea, And every fairy wheel and thread Of cobweb dew-bediamonded. When daisies go, shall winter time Silver the simple grass with rime; Autumnal frosts enchant the pool And make the cart-ruts beautiful; And when snow-bright the moor expands, How shall your children clap their hands! To make this earth our hermitage, A cheerful and a changeful page, God's bright and intricate device Of days and seasons doth suffice.
VI - A VISIT FROM THE SEA
Far from the loud sea beaches Where he goes fishing and crying, Here in the inland garden Why is the sea-gull flying?
Here are no fish to dive for; Here is the corn and lea; Here are the green trees rustling. Hie away home to sea!
Fresh is the river water And quiet among the rushes; This is no home for the sea-gull But for the rooks and thrushes.
Pity the bird that has wandered! Pity the sailor ashore! Hurry him home to the ocean, Let him come here no more!
High on the sea-cliff ledges The white gulls are trooping and crying, Here among the rooks and roses, Why is the sea-gull flying?
VII - TO A GARDENER
Friend, in my mountain-side demesne My plain-beholding, rosy, green And linnet-haunted garden-ground, Let still the esculents abound. Let first the onion flourish there, Rose among roots, the maiden-fair, Wine-scented and poetic soul Of the capacious salad bowl. Let thyme the mountaineer (to dress The tinier birds) and wading cress, The lover of the shallow brook, From all my plots and borders look.
Nor crisp and ruddy radish, nor Pease-cods for the child's pinafore Be lacking; nor of salad clan The last and least that ever ran About great nature's garden-beds. Nor thence be missed the speary heads Of artichoke; nor thence the bean That gathered innocent and green Outsavours the belauded pea.
These tend, I prithee; and for me, Thy most long-suffering master, bring In April, when the linnets sing And the days lengthen more and more At sundown to the garden door. And I, being provided thus. Shall, with superb asparagus, A book, a taper, and a cup Of country wine, divinely sup.
La Solitude, Hyeres
VIII - TO MINNIE
(With a hand-glass)
A picture-frame for you to fill, A paltry setting for your face, A thing that has no worth until You lend it something of your grace
I send (unhappy I that sing Laid by awhile upon the shelf) Because I would not send a thing Less charming than you are yourself.