A Vision of Green Leaves.

Natural landscape of a lake with an illuminated pathway behind the water. 1/2 page circular frame.
The time was Winter, Winter or the Spring1
That comes with tardy footstep, lingering2
Like some reluctant Giver, yielding cold,3
The boons that it no longer may withhold ;4
And ere I slept, I listened to the rain5
Dashed by the fitful wind against the pane,6
The wind, that even through my sleep did seem7
To break upon the music of my dream,8
With pause of change and dreariness, and still9
Swelled, sighed, and moaned each varying scene
to fill
With trouble and unrest ; at length outworn11
I slept within my sleep, and to the Morn12
(Still in my dream) awoke, with vacant eye13
Forth from the casement gazing listlessly,14
When sudden I exclaimed, “ A miracle !15
A Summer come at once, without a Spring16
To herald it ! a bright awakening17
To life and loveliness,” for all around18
Were leaves, green bursting leaves, and on the
Was short grass springing thick, and through the
The dark flag cut its swift way like a glaive ;21
And broad as Orient growths, upon the pool,22
Large, juicy, leaves lay mantling, smooth and
cool :
I saw no flowers, no fruit, but everywhere24
Leaves, only leaves, that filled the summer air25
With murmurs, soft as whispers that the heart26
Hath longed and listened for ; while light and
As chidings fall from lips that turn their flow28
To gentleness, quick rustlings waved apart29
The boughs, and fragrance soothed the sense like
thought :
Too sweet for utterance ; e’en then I caught31
The Dream’s full import: “ ’tis the Spring’s warm
Methought, “ that calls forth all this luxury33
Of leaf and greenness ; thus, upon the heart34
A word, a look will bid a Summer start,35
A Summer come at once, without a Spring36
To herald it, a sudden wakening ;”37
Then from the bands of sleep my spirit broke,38
And with the sweetness on my soul I woke,39
And it was Winter still ! but in my heart40
Was Summer ! Summer that would not depart,41
But breathed across its silence, low and light,42
Like those sweet forest-rustlings of the night ;43
It was a dream of Hope ! and sent by Her44
My Lady bright, because I minister45
Unto her honour, while I strive to sing46
And praise her with my Lyre’s most silver string ;47
It was a dream of Hope ; I know the hue48
Of her fresh mantle, and her symbol true,49
The leaf ! she cannot give the flower or fruit,50
But sends their promise by a herald mute ;51
The leaf, that comes like one in haste to bring52
The first of all some gladsome welcoming,53
And cannot speak for joy, but with the hand54
Still points and beckons to the coming band ;55
I know the symbol, and I bind the sign56
Upon my heart to make it doubly thine,57
Thou Bringer of sweet dreams by day and night,58
Still will I sing and praise Thee, Lady bright !59
And I will gather of these leaves, to twine60
A chaplet for those sunny brows of thine61
And by thy smiling Thou wilt keep its sheen,62
In Winter as in Summer fresh and green !63