To an Early Spring Day

O Day, thou found’st me sleeping ; let me sleep !1
Too many of thy brothers, too like thee,2
Have waked me with such manners. Didst thou peep3
With something of thy sisters’ smile, may be,4
I, even then, would sleep ; though they were gay5
And called me oft in leafy flowery May.6
Of banks more soft with moss than any bed,7
With lush bee-peopled canopies o’erhead,8
They knew, and talking led me out to play.9
Ah, they were gay, thy sisters !  They were young10
And like the flowers, half divine with dew,11
Caught in their heads’ loose roughened manes or flung12
Forth in their frolic. Nothing sad they knew ;13
But thou, thou hast the sob of many sorrows,14
Gloom from a stormy night thy wet wing borrows,15
Each pelting shower, like angry, sudden tears,16
Answers an urgent spurring, which one hears,17
Driving thee on toward disenchanted morrows.18
Alas, there is but wind and rain abroad,19
Fatiguing warmth that tempts the sharded buds !20
I would I were a god of stone to hoard,21
Like russet grange, the summer’s golden floods,22
All that Greece knew of beauty in her youth23
Handless and footless, from an isle aloof24
Watching a mainland near across the sea,25
Since heroes on white horses, buoyantly,26
Chanting rode by to meet the dawn of truth.27
Like some fair marble god, who pays no heed28
To any day, in comely trance elate,29
While honey-laden summers circling speed,30
As echoes through a stone reverberate,31
Thrilling his stillness—as a song is held32
Spellbound within the temple, where it swelled,33
Long after all the choristers have ceased :34
So would I be, and never more released35
To learn how men from such fair gods rebelled.36
O Day, grey habited, thou too art sad !37
Thou, too, art all too conscious of the past38
Of all those leaves that thy forerunners had39
To bathe in, plunge in, fall to sleep at last,40
Tired out like children, in !  Thou, with thy rain41
Pelting wet roofs and dripping boughs, wouldst fain42
Dance among flowers and make the roses bob ;43
Thou wouldst from dells of thyme and clover rob44
Scents to make sea-nymphs sniff and sniff again.45
Then let us, Day, go friendly ! help thou me,46
Strengthen my feet and occupy my hands,47
And from all clinging yearning set me free,48
To find in things the look that understands,49
With mother-like alacrity, our need !50
For nature is her children’s friend indeed,51
Who need not then be exiles anywhere,52
But, loving beauty, still find beauty there,53
As thou canst find thee comfort in thy speed.54
Rough minister of life, thine infant hand55
May once have ushered Psyche through Love’s house.56
Viewless and trembling didst thou later stand57
And soothe her sleep with music ? shy as mouse58
Evade, but when, with many a skyey leap59
From cloud-caps downward, came, with meteor sweep,60
Her rosy husband ?  Ah, attend my prayers61
Immediate as her unseen ministers,62
Till hope grow real enough to clasp in sleep !63
In sleep we may believe, we do attain64
Full knowledge of illusive beauty, and,65
In sleep, we do not know ourselves nor strain,66
Like birds at sea and fainting ere the land,67
To reach a joy that, ever seeming near,68
Lies far beyond our strength. In sleep we hear69
As echoes hear, who do not weep at songs,70
And unmoved watch, like stars, unpitied wrongs.71
Then, Day, storm on till sleep be doubly dear.72
Press on, and shoulder up thy lagging clouds !73
Invigour me !  Born from thine energy74
And bright from thy despair, with leaves in crowds,75
The spring shall be ! at last the spring shail be !76
Beauty shall like a day-dream brave the light77
A day-dream likelier than the dreams of night,78
Surmised among thy sisters, Summer Days,79
When, ’mid birds singing, I will sing her praise,80
Exalting her with this thy strenuous might.81