‘Tis pleasant—when the nights are long
And days are drear and chill,
And hail and sleet are driving fast
In downward desperate will,
Or when the choking mists around
A gloomy influence shed,
When miry ways are underfoot,
And drizzling rain o’erhead,
When hardened faces, graceless forms,
Are hurrying all about;
(The coarser of the human clay
That Nature fashions out),
When voices rude, in rattling street,
Are sounds the chiefest heard,
When one would almost “give one’s ears”
To hear a singing bird,—
‘Tis pleasant then to wander back
Into the summer time,
And cull a bright and cherished flower
From Memory’s richest prime;
To bid a sudden sunshine come
Where all before was gloom,
To say unto a barren heart,
“Here shall a garden bloom!”
To open a remembrance sweet,
Like casket rich and rare,
Fresh from the aromatic East,
To extacize the air;—
‘Tis pleasant?—Come and listen then,
While March winds muster strong,
To the loveliest summer memory
That ever lighted Song!
I see the grove of Limes, on a sunny summer’s day,
‘Tis stealing from their silky leaves the honey-dew away,
But the perfume of their tufty tassels clings to them around,
And there’s play-room for their shadows on the un-molested ground.
The cream-white cow is dozing on her yielding bed of grass,
And the pony from the paddock-rail looks welcome as you pass,
And rooks and jays, from far-aways, come flocking now and then,
While peeping from her nested home is watching them the wren.
I see the acacia, myriad-leaved, and tall as it would rise
To the undivided azure of the pure and steadfast skies;
And the elms, in their rich quietude, their mystic depths of green,
That give the distant mournful firs scarce room for being seen.
Let us pass within the gate where the loving ivy clings,
And round about in graceful wreaths its changeless verdure flings,
To the porch where oftentime in the dewy April weather,
The blackbird and the brier try a match of sweets together.
For there, at daybreak until eve, this jetty dove will sing
‘Neath the rosy-budded honeysuckle, opening to the spring,
And when autumn finds it mute, she munificently lends
Convolvulus and clematis for rich and sweet amends.
Pause! ere your footsteps try
The narrow boundary
That shuts the world without and all its folly!
As those who seek a shrine
Where dwells a saint divine
Themselves first dedicate from fountain holy,
To consecrate thy mind:
For Her whom thou wilt find
Summon thy whitest wingèd thoughts t’ attend her,
Angelic tho’ they be
Yet loftier were She
To show what seraphs are, the Heavens but lend her.
A wondrous alchemy
Hath power within her eye,
There in its lustrous depths for ever burning;
All dross beneath her sight
Is changed to living light,
The dark unto the bright for ever turning.
She speaks! List to the flow,
So tender-voiced and low,
Of eloquent thoughts that with the air are blending;
They seem to disenthral
From out the body’s wall
The prisoned soul, and speed its upward tending.
Each music-breathing tone
Her voice hath made its own,
The fountains overflow—the eyelids glisten—
While as the rising strain
Sinks thro’ th’ enchanted brain
The very stars seem drawing near to listen.
The sunbeams love to come
And play within her home,
And lay upon her clustering hair their blessing;
The pleasant breezes woo her,
Like friends they whisper to her,
The flowers look up to greet her touch caressing.
Treasures of Art are there
In forms and faces fair,
All wistful to enjoy her hands meet placing,
Where light and shadow come
As in their parent home—
Her gracious welcome still their charms out-gracing.
Oft have we heard of cells
Where old magicians’ spells
Conjured unseemly shapes and phantoms dreary,
While sounds of noxious things
Whizzing on baleful wings
Flitted about with mischief never weary;
Here, every sight and sound
A magic sheds around
In forms all beautiful, that o’er us hover;
Each bearing as a dower
Some bright ideal flower
To form a wreath wherewith the mind to cover.
A lovely band they come!
“Kilmeny”—(from her home
Unearthly wanderer)—an amaranth bringeth,
And Ariel while he sings
A shower of sweetness flings
From cowslip bells,—as on his way he wingeth.
Egeria calm is there
With olive-garland fair
Bless’d by Minerva for her sake, and thine—
Folded herself within
She listens to her twin
Teaching to man such laws as make divine.
And She whose lyric word
Did “magnify the Lord”
That He had bless’d her chiefest of her race,
Strips from her blossomed wand
A lily for thy hand,
Her pure deep eyes yet resting on thy face.
And when at eventime
Thou murmurest an old rhyme
To lull the o’erwrought nerves to charmèd quiet;
Soothing to downy rest
The poor toil-wearied breast
Vex’d by the outer world’s malicious riot;
Sweet airs come one by one
To learn thy gentle tone
And grateful scatter perfume o’er thy numbers,
While sleep stands waiting near
A willing slave to bear
A wreath of poppies for the tired one’s slumbers.
Night comes!—She seeks her rest.
Peace, fold her to thy breast!
And loveliest dreams unto her sleep be given:
The blessing she has brought
Into her soul be wrought!
On Earth there is no purer, brighter Heaven!