Spring-Time in the Court.

They say the Spring has come again !1
There is no Spring-time here ;2
In this dark, reeking court, there seems3
No change throughout the year :4
Except, sometimes, ’tis bitter cold,5
Or else ’tis hot and foul ;6
How hard it is, in such a place,7
To feel one has a soul !8
They say the Spring has come again !9
I scarce believe ’tis so ;10
For where ’s the sun, and gentle breeze,11
That make the primrose blow ?12
Oh, would that I could lead my child13
Over the meadows green,14
And see him playing with the flowers15
His eyes have never-seen !16
His toys are but an oyster-shell,17
Or piece of broken delf ;18
His playground is the gulley’s side,19
With outcasts like himself !20
I used to play on sunny banks,21
Or else by pleasant streams ;22
How oft—oh, God be thanked ! how oft— 23
I see them in my dreams.24
I used to throw my casement wide,25
To breathe the morning’s breath ;26
But now I keep the window close—27
The air smells so like death !28
Once only, on my window-sill29
I placed a little flower,30
Something to tell me of the fields—31
It withered in an hour.32
Why are we housed like filthy swine ?33
Swine ! they have better care ;34
For we are pent up with the plague,35
Shut out from light and air.36
We work and wear our lives away,37
To heap this city’s wealth ;38
But labour God decreed for us—39
’Tis man denies us health !40
They say the Spring has come again41
To wake the sleeping seed,42
Whether it be the tended flower,43
Or poor, neglected weed !44
Then Harvest comes. Think you our wrongs45
For ever, too, will sleep ?46
The misery which man has sown,47
Man will as surely reap !48