The Delaying Spring.

Spring-time ! why with the swallow dost thou linger ?1
’Tis iron Winter grasps thy fleshy arm,2
And checks the flow of blood from thy white finger3
Yea, from thy cheek dissolves the pinky charm4
Of maiden bloom. The winter-rested farm5
Cries for thy helping-hand on foot to get ;6
My garden murmurs—threats to go to harm ;7
Peach-blooms refuse in woolly globes to set,8
Nor breathes her Eden breath the purple violet.9
The heavens are huge with hills of mimic snow,10
Which sunset reddens like a soldier’s coat ;11
The dark hours forth like angry jailers go,12
To bind the glebe, and grasp the brooklet’s throat ;13
The hoped-for morning bateth not a jot14
Of icy fellness, but, severe and wild,15
Like a sour relative who works a plot16
To disinherit a richly fortuned child,17
She scowls before thy primrose footsteps, pressing for-
ward, mild,
Away, ye turbaned hills, that chill the vale !19
Away, thou East wind, snarling like a scold !20
Now, archer-like, thou shootest arrowy hail ;21
Now, like a furnace, belchest fiery cold ;22
Now, like sheep-shearer, from some mountain-fold,23
Thou hurtlest air with twisting, fleecy flakes24
Of martial Snow, that like a tyrant bold,25
His pleasure in his neighbour’s vineyard takes,26
Nor careth for the wreck that everywhere he makes.27
My crocuses, amid the snow-sheet, lie28
Like courtiers in gay dress upon the street29
Like bleached moon wasting in the morning sky ;30
But when the Sun pours down his casual heat,31
They start, like soldiers, at the drum’s glad beat,32
And ope their golden bosoms to the bees,33
That throng like merchants to the money-seat,34
And humming, labouring, in sweet ecstasies,35
The transient moments and the waxen gold they seize.36
But, oh, how passing !  Where, Sun, art thou now ?37
Blanched in the wild snow-blast ; and flower and bud38
Fret in thy absence, and with clouded brow,39
Like bairns denied their mother’s milky flood,40
Grow tetchy. O helpless babies in the wood !41
Lie not down on the bank, as if to die42
Spring-time will soon be here, in merry mood43
Will ope on you her swimming, big, blue eye,44
And feed your feverish gums with warm milk from
the sky.
Come, then, O Spring ! the good Lord hasten thee,46
Rich in the sunbeam, and his sister breeze ;47
Larks pour for thee aloft sweet melody ;48
Rooks caw for thee around their nested trees ;49
Lambs bleat for thee upon the shivering leas ;50
The wood-dove croaks complaint on yon tree-top ;51
And yon pale lad, shrunken with death’s disease,52
Walks daily in the sun on grassy slope,53
To hunt for daisies as his morning-star of Hope.54