A poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy

Ah! summer time, sweet summer scene,
When all the golden days,
Linked hand-in-hand, like moonlit fays,
Danced o'er the deepening green.

When, from the top of Pelier[1] down
We saw the sun descend,
With smiles that blessings seemed to send
To our near native town.

And when we saw him rise again
High o'er the hills at morn--
God's glorious prophet daily born
To preach good will to men--

Good-will and peace to all between
The gates of night and day--
Join with me, love, and with me say--
Sweet summer time and scene.

Sweet summer time, true age of gold,
When hand-in-hand we went
Slow by the quickening shrubs, intent
To see the buds unfold:

To trace new wild flowers in the grass,
New blossoms on the bough,
And see the water-lilies now
Rise o'er the liquid glass.

When from the fond and folding gale
The scented briar I pulled,
Or for thy kindred bosom culled
The lily of the vale;--

Thou without whom were dark the green,
The golden turned to gray,
Join with me, love, and with me say--
Sweet summer time and scene.

Sweet summer time, delight's brief reign,
Thou hast one memory still,
Dearer than ever tree or hill
Yet stretched along life's plain.

Stranger than all the wond'rous whole,
Flowers, fields, and sunset skies--
To see within our infant's eyes
The awakening of the soul.

To see their dear bright depths first stirred
By the far breath of thought,
To feel our trembling hearts o'erfraught
With rapture when we heard

Her first clear laugh, which might have been
A cherub's laugh at play--
Ah! love, thou canst but join and say--
Sweet summer time and scene.

Sweet summer time, sweet summer days,
One day I must recall;
One day the brightest of them all,
Must mark with special praise.

'Twas when at length in genial showers
The spring attained its close;
And June with many a myriad rose
Incarnadined the bowers:

Led by the bright and sun-warm air,
We left our indoor nooks;
Thou with my paper and my books,
And I thy garden chair;

Crossed the broad, level garden-walks,
With countless roses lined;
And where the apple still inclined
Its blossoms o'er the box,

Near to the lilacs round the pond,
In its stone ring hard by
We took our seats, where save the sky,
And the few forest trees beyond

The garden wall, we nothing saw,
But flowers and blossoms, and we heard
Nought but the whirring of some bird,
Or the rooks' distant, clamorous caw.

And in the shade we saw the face
Of our dear infant sleeping near,
And thou wert by to smile and hear,
And speak with innate truth and grace.

There through the pleasant noontide hours
My task of echoed song I sung;
Turning the golden southern tongue
Into the iron ore of ours!

'Twas the great Spanish master's pride,
The story of the hero proved;
'Twas how the Moorish princess loved,
And how the firm Fernando died.[2]

O happiest season ever seen,
O day, indeed the happiest day;
Join with me, love, and with me say--
Sweet summer time and scene.

One picture more before I close
Fond Memory's fast dissolving views;
One picture more before I lose
The radiant outlines as they rose.

'Tis evening, and we leave the porch,
And for the hundredth time admire
The rhododendron's cones of fire
Rise round the tree, like torch o'er torch.

And for the hundredth time point out
Each favourite blossom and perfume--
If the white lilac still doth bloom,
Or the pink hawthorn fadeth out:

And by the laurell'd wall, and o'er
The fields of young green corn we've gone;
And by the outer gate, and on
To our dear friend's oft-trodden door.

And there in cheerful talk we stay,
Till deepening twilight warns us home;
Then once again we backward roam
Calmly and slow the well-known way--

And linger for the expected view--
Day's dying gleam upon the hill;
Or listen for the whip-poor-will,[3]
Or the too seldom shy cuckoo.

At home the historic page we glean,
And muse, and hope, and praise, and pray--
Join with me, love, as then, and say--
Sweet summer time and scene!

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