Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Summer's long siege at last is o’er;

When the first poor outcast went in at the door, 340 She entered with him in disguise,

And mastered the fortress by surprise;
There is no spot she loves so well on ground,
She lingers and smiles there the whole year

round; The meanest serf on Sir Launfal's land 345 Has hall and bower at his command;

And there's no poor man in the North Countree
But is lord of the earldom as much as he.

II.

UNDER THE WILLOWS.

FRANK-HEARTED hostess of the field and wood,
Gypsy, whose roof is every spreading tree,
June is the pearl of our New England year.

Still a surprisal, though expected long,
5 Her coming startles. Long she lies in wait,

Makes many a feint, peeps forth, draws coyly back,
Then, from some southern ambush in the sky,
With one great gush of blossom storms the world.

A week ago the sparrow was divine;
to The bluebird, shifting his light load of song

From post to post along the cheerless fence,
Was as a rhymer ere the poet come;
But now, O rapture! sunshine winged and voiced,
Pipe blown through by the warm wild breath of the

West
15 Shepherding his soft droves of fleecy cloud,

Gladness of woods, skies, waters, all in one,

The bobolink has come, and, like the soul
Of the sweet season vocal in a bird,

Gurgles in ecstasy we know not what 20 Save June! Dear June! Now God be praised for

June.

[ocr errors]

May is a pious fraud of the almanac,
A ghastly parody of real Spring
Shaped out of snow and breathed with eastern

wind;
Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date,
25 And, with her handful of anemones,

Herself as shivery, steal into the sun,
The season need but turn his hour-glass round,
And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear,

Reels back, and brings the dead May in his arms, 30 Her budding breasts and wan dislustred front

With frosty streaks and drifts of his white beard
All overblown. Then, warmly walled with books,
While my wood-fire supplies the sun's defect,

Whispering old forest-sagas in its dreams, 35 I take my May down from the happy shelf

Where perch the world's rare song-birds in a row, 17. Bryant has a charming poem, Robert of Lincoln, in which the light-hearted song of the bird gets a homelier but no less delightful interpretation. See, also, Lowell's lines in Suthin' in the Pastoral Line, No. VI. of the second series of The Biglow l'apers :

"'Nuff sed, June's bridesman, poet o' the year,
Gladness on wings, the bobolink is here;
Half-hid in tip-top apple-blooms he swings,
Or climbs aginst the breeze with juiverin' wings,
Or, givin' way to 't in a mock despair,

Runs down, a brook o' laughter, thru the air." 28. In the fifth act of Shakspere's King Lear, Lear enteri with Cordelia dead in his arms.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][graphic][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »