The Voice of Spring.

I come, I come ! ye have call’d me long,1
I come o’er the mountains with light and song !2
Ye may trace my step o’er the wakening earth,3
By the winds which tell of the violet’s birth,4
By the primrose-stars in the shadowy grass,5
By the green leaves opening as I pass.6
I have breathed on the South, and the chestnut flowers7
By thousands have burst from the forest bowers,8
And the ancient graves, and the fallen fanes,9
Are veil’d with wreaths on Italian plains.10
—But it is not for me, in my hour of bloom,11
To speak of the ruin or the tomb !12
I have pass’d o’er the hills of the stormy North,13
And the larch has hung all his tassels forth,14
The fisher is out on the sunny sea,15
And the rein-deer bounds through the pasture free,16
And the pine has a fringe of softer green,17
And the moss looks bright where my step has been.18
I have sent through the wood-paths a gentle sigh,19
And called out each voice of the deep blue sky,20
From the night-bird’s lay through the starry time,21
In the groves of the soft Hesperian clime,22
To the swan’s wild note by the Iceland lakes,23
When the dark fir-bough into verdure breaks.24
From the streams and founts I have loosed the chain25
They are sweeping on to the silvery main,26
They are flashing down from the mountain-brows,27
They are flinging spray on the forest boughs28
They are bursting fresh from their sparry caves,29
And the earth resounds with the joy of waves.30
Come forth, O ye children of gladness, come !31
Where the violets lie may be now your home.32
Ye of the rose-cheek and dew-bright eye,33
And the bounding footstep, to meet me fly,34
With the lyre, and the wreath, and the joyous lay35
Come forth to the sunshine, I may not stay !36
Away from the dwellings of care-worn men,37
The waters are sparkling in wood and glen,38
Away from the chamber and dusky hearth,39
The young leaves are dancing in breezy mirth40
Their light stems thrill to the wild-wood strains,41
And youth is abroad in my green domains.42
But ye ! ye are changed since ye met me last ;43
A shade of earth has been round you cast !44
There is that come over your brow and eye,45
Which speaks of a world where the flowers must die !46
Ye smile ! but your smile hath a dimness yet47
Oh, what have ye look’d on since last we met ?48
Ye are changed, ye are changed !— and I see not here49
All whom I saw in the vanished year !50
There were graceful heads, with their ringlets bright,51
Which toss’d in the breeze with a play of light ;52
There were eyes, in whose glistening laughter lay53
No faint remembrance of dull decay.54
There were steps, that flew o’er the cowslip’s head,55
As if for a banquet all earth were spread ;56
There were voices that rung through the sapphire sky,57
And had not a sound of mortality !58
—Are they gone ?— is their mirth from the green hills
Ye have look’d on death since ye met me last !60
I know whence the shadow comes o’er ye now,61
Ye have strewn the dust on the sunny brow !62
Ye have given the lovely to earth’s embrace,63
She hath taken the fairest of beauty’s race !64
With their laughing eyes and their festal crown65
They are gone from amongst you in silence down.66
They are gone from amongst you, the bright and fair67
Ye have lost the gleam of their shining hair !68
—But I know of a world where there falls no blight,69
I shall find them there, with their eyes of light !70
Where death ’midst the blooms of the morn may dwell,71
I tarry no longer—farewell—farewell !72
The summer is hastening, on soft winds borne,73
Ye may press the grape, ye may bind the corn !74
For me, I depart to a brighter shore ;75
Ye are mark’d by care, ye are mine no more.76
I go where the loved who have left you dwell,77
And the flowers are not death’s—fare ye well, farewell !78