Half the Year Round.


Slow-paced and solemn, through the drifting snow,1
With heart uplifted comes the hopeful year,2
Breathing like voice of waves in ebb and flow,3
To mourners all, O !  be ye of good cheer !4
Look back but for a moment to the past5
That is in God’s own keeping, yours no more ;—6
The present days that flee as shadows fast,7
Should leave no loiterers weeping on the shore.8
Dim through the sky, shifting the subtle sand,9
Uncertain the loud wind and long the way,10
Angels keep watch and ward on either hand,11
Gleams fall from Heaven on the darkest day.12
Be of good courage !  Cease that faithless moan,13
Forsaken ye are not when most alone.14


Half shrouded in a veil of pallid mist,15
Half smiling in wan sunshine on the hills,16
The fruitful life high swelling in her breast,17
As swells the ripple in the flooded rills.18
Lustres of primrose glistening through the grey,19
First songs low twittered in the leafless wood,20
A tender beam in the blue eye of day,21
A certain forecast of all coming good.22
Like the brave hopes that early youth conceives,23
In the rich soil of pure and happy hearts ;24
Hopes that will put forth green and vigorous leaves,25
Buds, blooms, and fruitage, ere the year departs.26
Welcome thy wavering brightness for their sake,27
Strengthened to bear the storm when winds awake.28


Fold thy robes close, the loud-voiced blusterer sweeps29
Over the whitened surges, mad with rage,30
Like cruel tyrant, heedless of who weeps,31
So he his desperate battle may but wage !32
Pray for all souls out on the storm-racked sea,33
That the great Pilot bring them safely home !—34
Pray for all souls who now their doom must dree,35
That He will take them where no storms can come!36
Pale women watching on the beacon-hill,37
For fathers, husbands, sons, who’ll sail no more,38
Let your tears cease, your mourning hearts be still,39
Safe landed are they on the heavenly shore ;40
Quiet in haven where ye fain would be,41
Ancored in peace for all eternity!42


Welcome, O sweet caprice of smiles and tears !43
Spoilt darling, with the fickle, flashing eyes,44
Trembling ’twixt joy and foolish happy fears,45
Now laughing loud, now shivering through with sighs.46
Pleasant art thou, young sister of the Spring,47
Light dancing o’er the golden fronded moss ;48
To thy fresh notes the merry echoes ring,49
While larches shake their emerald tassels loose.50
Soft Aphrodite waits with myrtle crown51
To grace thee as the First Love of the World,52
To soothe thy sigh, beguile thy fretted frown,53
And kiss away thy anger, rain-empearled.54
Shine out, then, tenderly, bewitching elf,55
Earth hath no fairer child than thy fair self !56


Love in her eyes, sweet promise on her lips,57
Blossomed abundance in her tender arms,58
Bird music heralding her sunlit steps,59
Winds hushed and mute in reverence of her charms.60
Maid veiled in tresses flecked with gems of dew,61
White lily crowned and clad in ’broidered green,62
Smiling till hoar and eld their youth renew,63
And vest themselves in robes of verdant sheen.64
Where fall her dainty feet meek daisies blow,65
Lifting their fire-touched lips to court a kiss ;66
Heart beats to heart and soft cheeks warmly glow,67
With budding hopes of love and joy and bliss.68
Fern banners wave, and harebells welcome ring,69
As trips across the meads the Bride of Spring.70


Queen of the fairies, laughing-browed Rose Queen !71
Sunny enchantess, dimpled, warm, and fair!72
Sweet witch, on whom young maidens shyly lean,73
Wreathing star pansies in thy golden hair74
Pansies for thoughts lips dare not speak aloud,75
But mystically whisper in a flower ;76
While stands the shadowy Future, pale and bowed,77
Drawing the emblem-lots that shall them dower :78
Nightshade to one, to one a red, red bloom,79
Fresh gathered with the dew in its warm heart,80
Wild woodbine, briar, grey moss from a tomb,81
Balm-flowers, sweet-balsam, stinging-nettle smart82
Prophetic oracles that glad and grieve,83
Given in Elfin Court Midsummer eve.84