(Macmillan's Magazine, Dec. 1866.)
Oh the cheerful Budding-time!
When thorn-hedges turn to green,
When new leaves of elm and lime
Cleave and shed their winter screen;
Tender lambs are born and 'baa,'
North wind finds no snow to bring,
Vigorous Nature laughs 'Ha, ha,'
In the miracle of spring.
Oh the gorgeous Blossom-days!
When broad flag-flowers drink and blow,
In and out in summer-blaze
Dragon-flies flash to and fro;
Ashen branches hang out keys,
Oaks put forth the rosy shoot,
Wandering herds wax sleek at ease,
Lovely blossoms end in fruit.
Oh the shouting Harvest-weeks!
Mother earth grown fat with sheaves
Thrifty gleaner finds who seeks;
Russet-golden pomp of leaves
Crowns the woods, to fall at length;
Bracing winds are felt to stir,
Ocean gathers up her strength,
Beasts renew their dwindled fur.
Oh the starving Winter-lapse!
Ice-bound, hunger-pinched and dim;
Dormant roots recall their saps,
Empty nests show black and grim,
Short-lived sunshine gives no heat,
Undue buds are nipped by frost,
Snow sets forth a winding-sheet,
And all hope of life seems lost.