Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Spring" by Mary Elizabeth Holmes McLean (1868)



Welcome, welcome, gentle Spring,

Life, and joy, and beauty bring;

Melt the dreary snows away,

Wake the South-wind's gentle play,

Swell the streamlet's joyous shout,

Hang thy leafy banners out.

Bud and blossom, bird and bee,

Mirth and music bring with thee.

Long the frost-kings dreary reign,

Chilled the life on hill and plain,

Buried deep beneath the snow,

Blue-eyed grasses slumbered low,

Sweet wild-roses hid their heads,

Flaunting pinksters, "kept their beds,"

And within the lonely wood,

Where was deepest solitude,

E'en the trailing arbutus,

Hid amid the faded moss.

Cold, and white, the sunshine lay,—

Where the bleak hills stretched away,

Morning woke no song of birds,

Evening brought no low of herds,

Sunset wove no gorgeous dyes,

In the pale gold of the skies;

Ghostly white, the moonlight fell,

Upon leafless grave and dell.

Drearily, the North wind blew,

Drearily the falling snow

Drifted lay in dark ravine,

Drifted lay in lonely glen.

White the river's pulseless breast,

White the mountain's frozen crest,

Meadow, moor-land, vale, and steep,

Palsied lay in death-like sleep.

But how changed!—thy gentle brow,

Beams with light and beauty now,—

In the radiance of the skies,

Shines the azure of thine eyes;

Floating loose, thine amber hair,

Golden glory lends the air,—

Trailing o'er the valleys green,

Bright thy garments, lustrous sheen.

Like a bride thou com'st sweet Spring,

Thine our warmest welcoming.

Sweet thy smile when morning breaks,

And from slumber earth awakes,

Bursting into joyous song,

Myriad voices roll along.

Sweet the breath of new-born flowers

Opening in the woodland bowers,

Scarcely fairer this bright earth

Ere had sin and sorrow birth.

Sin and sorrow—shadows they

Which we may not roll away;

Else thy joyous light and bloom,

Sunny smiles and sweet perfume,

Ne'er had lingered 'round a tomb.

Else, when loveliness and light

'Round our pathway shine so bright,

We, with saddened heart and brow,

Turning from thy beauty's glow,

Ne'er had mourned the loved and lost

Mouldering now in silent dust.

On their graves, O, gentle Spring,

Lay thy purest offering,

Earliest verdure, fairest flowers,

Dewy tears in night's lone hours.

They too loved thee, and when last

O'er the earth thy fleet step passed,

Some, with smiling lip and brow,

Welcomed thee, who slumber now.

Slumber till a brighter Spring

Round them shall its glory fling;

Slumber till a fairer scene

Greets them with its light serene;

Slumber till, in purer day,

Sin and sorrow pass away.

Greenwich, N. Y., May 6th.

Troy Daily Times. May 16, 1868: 4 col 1.

Mary Elizabeth Holmes McLean (1824-1872)

Greenwich Cemetery, Greenwich, Washington County, New York

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