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II.-MAY-DAY

AND OTHER POEMS OF 1867.

II.-MAY-DAY AND OTHER

POEMS.

MAY-DAY.

D A

AUGHTER of Heaven and Earth, coy Spring,

With sudden passion languishing,
Teaching barren moors to smile,
Painting pictures mile on mile,
Holds a cup with cowslip-wreaths,
Whence a smokeless incense breathes.
The air is full of whistlings bland;
What was that I heard
Out of the hazy land ?
Harp of the wind, or song of bird,
Or vagrant booming of the air,
Voice of a meteor lost in day?
Such tidings of the starry sphere
Can this elastic air convey.
Or haply 'twas the cannonade
Of the pent and darkened lake,
Cooled by the pendent mountain's shade,
Whose deeps, till beams of noonday break,
Afflicted moan, and latest hold
Even into May the iceberg cold.
Was it a squirrel's pettish bark,
Or clarionet of jay? or hark,
Where yon wedged line the Nestor leads,
Steering north with raucous cry
Through tracts and provinces of sky,
Every night alighting down
In new landscapes of romance,
Where darkling feed the clamorous clans
By lonely lakes to men unknown.

1 This poem is here given in its latest version. The original form will be found at the end of the volume.

Come the tumult whence it will,
Voice of sport, or rush of wings,
It is a sound, it is a token
That the marble sleep is broken,
And a change has passed on things.

When late I walked, in earlier days, All was stiff and stark; Knee-deep snows choked all the ways, In the sky no spark; Firm-braced I sought my ancient woods, Struggling through the drifted roads; The whited desert knew me not, Snow-ridges masked each darling spot; The summer dells, by genius haunted, One arctic moon had disenchanted. All the sweet secrets therein hid By Fancy, ghastly spells undid. Eldest mason, Frost, had piled, Swift cathedrals in the wild ; The piny hosts were sheeted ghosts In the star-lit minster aisled. I found no joy; the icy wind Might rule the forest to his mind. Who would freeze on frozen lakes ? Back to books and sheltered home, And wood-fire flickering on the walls, To hear, when, 'mid our talk and games, Without the baffled north-wind calls. But soft! a sultry morning breaks; The ground-pines wash their rusty green, The maple-tops their crimson tint, On the soft path each track is seen, The girl's foot leaves its neater print. The pebble loosened from the frost Asks of the urchin to be tost. In flint and marble beats a heart, The kind Earth takes her children's part, The green lane is the school-boy's friend, Low leaves his quarrel apprehend, The fresh ground loves his top and ball, The air rings jocund to his call,

The brimming brook invites a leap,
He dives the hollow, climbs the steep.
The youth reads omens where he goes,
And speaks all languages the rose;
The wood-fly mocks with tiny noise
The far halloo of human voice;
The perfumed berry on the spray
Smacks of faint memories far away.
A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings,
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.

The caged linnet in the spring Hearkens for the choral glee, When his fellows on the wing Migrate from the Southern Sea; When trellised grapes their flowers unmask, And the new-born tendrils twine, The old wine darkling in the cask Feels the bloom on the living vine, And bursts the hoops at hint of spring: And so, perchance, in Adam's race, Of Eden's bower some dream-like trace Survived the Flight, and swam the Flood, And wakes the wish in youngest blood To tread the forfeit Paradise, And feed once more the exile's eyes; And ever when the happy child In May beholds the blooming wild, And hears in heaven the bluebird sing, “Onward," he cries," your baskets bring In the next field is air more mild, And o'er yon hazy crest is Eden's balmier spring.”

Not for a regiment's parade,
Nor evil laws of rulers made,
Blue Walden rolls its cannonade,
But for a lofty sign
Which the Zodiac threw,
That the bondage-days are told,

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