The Year of Sorrow.—Ireland—1849.

Spring Song.

Once more, through God’s high will and grace,1
Of Hours that each its task fulfils,2
Heart-healing Spring resumes its place ;—3
The valley throngs and scales the hills.4
In vain. From earth’s deep heart o’ercharged,5
The exulting life runs o’er in flowers ;—6
The slave unfed is unenlarged :7
In darkness sleep a nation’s powers.8
Who knows not Spring ?  Who doubts when blows9
Her breath, that Spring is come indeed ?10
The swallow doubts not ; nor the rose11
That stirs, but wakes not ; nor the weed.12
I feel her near, but see her not,13
For those with pain-uplifted eyes14
Fall back repulsed ; and vapors blot15
The vision of the earth and skies.16
I see her not ; I feel her near,17
As, charioted in mildest airs,18
She sails through yon empyreal sphere,19
And in her arms and bosom bears20
The urn of flowers and lustral dews,21
Whose sacred balm, o’er all things shed,22
Revives the weak, the old renews,23
And crowns with votive wreaths the dead.24
Once more the cuckoo’s call I hear,25
I know, in many a glen profound,26
The earliest violets of the year27
Rise up like water from the ground.28
The thorn I know once more is white ;29
And, far down many a forest dale,30
The anemones in dubious light31
Are trembling like a bridal veil.32
By streams released that singing flow33
From craggy shelf through sylvan glades,34
The pale narcissus, well I know,35
Smiles hour by hour on greener shades.36
The honeyed cowslip tufts once more37
The golden slopes ;— with gradual ray38
The primrose stars’ the rock, and o’er39
The wood-path strews its milky way.40
From ruined huts and holes come forth41
Old men, and look upon the sky !42
The Power Divine is on the earth ;—43
Give thanks to God before ye die !44
And ye, O children worn and weak,45
Who care no more with flowers to play,46
Lean on the grass your cold, thin cheek,47
And those slight hands, and whispering say,48
Stern Mother of a race unblest49
In promise kindly, cold in deed ;50
Take back, O Harth, into thy breast,51
The children whom thou wilt not feed.”52