The sides of the hill were brown, but violet buds had started
In gray and hidden nooks o'erhung by feathery ferns and heather,
And a bird in an April morn was never lighter-hearted
Than the pilot swallow we saw convoying sunny weather,
And sunshine golden, and gay-voiced singing-birds into the land;
And this was the song - the clear, shrill song of the swallow,
That it carolled back to the southern sun, and his brown winged band,
Clear it arose, "Oh, follow me - come and follow - and follow."
A tender story was in his eyes, he wished to tell me I knew,
As he stood in the happy morn by my side at the garden-gate;
But I fancy the tall rose branches that bent and touched his brow,
Were whispering to him, "Wait, impatient heart, oh, wait,
Before the bloom of the rose is the tender green of the leaf;
Not rash is he who wisely followeth patient Nature's ways,
The lily-bud of love should be swathed in a silken sheaf,
Unfolding at will to summer bloom in the warm and perfect days."
So silently sailed the early sun, through clouds of fleecy white;
So stood we in dreamy silence, enwrapped in a tender spell;
But the pulses of soft Spring air were quickened to fresh delight,
For I read in his eye the story sweet, he longed, yet feared to tell;
It spoke from his heart to mine, and needed no word from his mouth,
And high o'er our heads rang out the happy song of the swallow;
It cried to the sunshine and beauty and bloom of the South,
Exultingly carolling clear, "Oh, follow me - oh, follow."