I saw this morning, with a sudden smart,
Spring preparing to depart.
I know her well and so I told her all my heart.
``Why did you, Spring, your coming so delay,
If, now here, you cannot stay?
You win my love and then unloving pass away.
``We waited, waited, O so long, so long,
Just to hear the ousel's song.
To-morrow 'twill be hushed, to-day that is so strong.
``Day after day, and dawn again on dawn,
Winter's shroud was on the lawn,
So still, so smooth, we thought 'twould never be withdrawn.
`Now that at last your welcome mimic snow
Doth upon the hawthorn blow,
It bides not on the bough, but melts before we know.
``Scarce hath the primrose o'er the sordid mould
Lavished treasure, than behold!
Our wealth of simple joy is robbed of all its gold.
``When to the woods we hie with feet of mirth,
Now the hyacinths have birth,
Swiftly the blue of Heaven fades from the face of earth.
``You with dry gusts and unrelenting wrack
Kept the liquid cuckoo back.
Now, even ere he goes, he turneth hoarse, alack!
``When, in the long warm nights of June,
Nightingales have got their tune,
Their sweet woe dies, and we are beggared of the boon.
``First drops the bloom, then darkens the green leaf;
Everything in life is brief,
Save autumn's deepening gloom and winter's changeless grief.''
Then with a smile thus answered me the Spring:
``To my voice and flight you cling,
For I, before I perch, again am on the wing.
``With you were I the whole year round to stay,
'Twould be you that went away,
Your love made fickle by monotony of May.
``Love cannot live save upon love beyond.
Leaving you, I keep you fond,
Not letting you despair, but making you despond.
`Farewell, and love me still, my lover dear,
Love me till another year,
And you, if you be true, again will find me here.''
Then darker, deeper, waxed the woods; the ground
Flowerless turned and then embrowned;
And less was of sweet scent, and less was of sweet sound.
Mute was the mavis, moulted was the thorn,
Meads were cut, and lambs were shorn,
And I by Spring was left forsaken and forlorn.
Forlorn, forsaken, shall I be until
Primrose peep and throstle shrill,
And in the orchard gleam the outriding daffodil.
Then shall I know that Spring among the trees
Hiding is, and that the breeze
Anew will fling abroad odours and melodies.
More verses by Alfred Austin
- A Point Of Honour
- Grandmother’s Teaching
- Why England Is Conservative
- Here, Where The Vine And Fig Bask Hand In Hand
- At His Grave