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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 10/88 -


And flash the floods; The stars are from their hands Flung through the woods,

The woods with living airs How softly fanned, Light airs from where the deep, All down the sand, Is breathing in his sleep, Heard by the land.

O, follow, leaping blood, The season's lure! O heart, look down and up, Serene, secure, Warm as the crocus cup, Like snow-drops, pure!

Past, Future glimpse and fade Through some slight spell, A gleam from yonder vale, Some far blue fell; And sympathies, how frail, In sound and smell!

Till at thy chuckled note, Thou twinkling bird, The fairy fancies range, And, lightly stirred, Ring little bells of change From word to word.

For now the Heavenly Power Makes all things new, And thaws the cold, and fills The flower with dew; The blackbirds have their wills, The poets too.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]

LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING

I heard a thousand blended notes, While in a grove I sat reclined, In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link The human soul that through me ran; And much it grieved my heart to think What Man has made of Man.

Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower, The periwinkle trailed its wreaths; And 'tis my faith that every flower Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played, Their thoughts I cannot measure, - But the least motion which they made It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan To catch the breezy air; And I must think, do all I can, That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent, If such be Nature's holy plan, Have I not reason to lament What Man has made of Man?

William Wordsworth [1770-1850]

IN EARLY SPRING

O Spring, I know thee! Seek for sweet surprise In the young children's eyes. But I have learnt the years, and know the yet Leaf-folded violet. Mine ear, awake to silence, can foretell The cuckoo's fitful bell. I wander in a gray time that encloses June and the wild hedge-roses. A year's procession of the flowers doth pass My feet, along the grass. And all you sweet birds silent yet, I know The notes that stir you so, Your songs yet half devised in the dim dear Beginnings of the year. In these young days you meditate your part; I have it all by heart. I know the secrets of the seeds of flowers Hidden and warm with showers, And how, in kindling Spring, the cuckoo shall Alter his interval. But not a flower or song I ponder is My own, but memory's. I shall be silent in those days desired Before a world inspired. O dear brown birds, compose your old song-phrases, Earth, thy familiar daisies.

The poet mused upon the dusky height, Between two stars towards night, His purpose in his heart. I watched, a space, The meaning of his face: There was the secret, fled from earth and skies, Hid in his gray young eyes. My heart and all the Summer wait his choice, And wonder for his voice. Who shall foretell his songs, and who aspire But to divine his lyre? Sweet earth, we know thy dimmest mysteries, But he is lord of his.

Alice Meynell [1850-1922]

SPRING From "Summer's Last Will and Testament"

Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king; Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing - Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay, Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day, And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay - Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet, Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit, In every street these tunes our ears do greet - Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-too! Spring, the sweet Spring!

Thomas Nashe [1567-1601]

A STARLING'S SPRING RONDEL

I clink my castanet And beat my little drum; For spring at last has come, And on my parapet, Of chestnut, gummy-wet, Where bees begin to hum, I clink my castanet, And beat my little drum.

"Spring goes," you say, "suns set." So be it! Why be glum? Enough, the spring has come; And without fear or fret I clink my castanet, And beat my little drum.

James Cousins [1873-

"WHEN DAFFODILS BEGIN TO PEER" From "The Winter's Tale"

When daffodils begin to peer, With heigh! the doxy, over the dale, Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing! Doth set my pugging tooth on edge; For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The, lark, that tirra-lirra chants, With heigh! with heigh! the thrush and the jay, Are summer songs for me and my aunts, While we lie tumbling in the hay.

William Shakespeare [1564-1616]

SPRING From "In Memoriam"

LXXXIII Dip down upon the northern shore, O sweet new-year, delaying long; Thou doest expectant Nature wrong, Delaying long, delay no more.

What stays thee from the clouded noons, Thy sweetness from its proper place? Can trouble live with April days, Or sadness in the summer moons?


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 10/88

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