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The grass, the thicket, and the fruit tree wild ;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The murmurous haunts of flies on summer eves,
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
In such an ecstacy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
No hungry generations tread thee down;
In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath Charmed magic casements opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades:
Fled is that music:- do I wake or sleep?
SEE, the day begins to break,
SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars that in earth's firmament do shine.
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
God hath written in those stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love. Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours ; Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth— these golden flowers. And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part Of the self-same universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart. Gorgeous flowerets in the sun-light shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay;
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gaily in the golden light; Large desires, with most uncertain issues;
Tender wishes, blossoming at night! These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers, Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers.
Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield; Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink; Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone; In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tells us of the ancient games of Flowers;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul.like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things. And with child-like, credulous affection,
We behold their tender bands expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
The spring is here- the delicate-footed May,
With its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers, And with it comes a thirst to be away,
In lovelier scenes to pass these sweeter hours, A feeling like the worm's awakening wings, Wild for companionship with swifter things. We pass out from the city's feverish hum,
To find refreshment in the silent woods ;
Like a cool sleep upon the pulses broods-
The waters tripping with their silver feet,
And the light whisper as their edges meet