I sit at evening's scented close,
In fulness of the summer-tide;
All dewy fair the lily glows,
No single petal of the row;
Has fallen to dim the rose's pride.
Sweet airs, sweet harmonies of hue,
Surround, caress me everywhere;
The spells of dusk, the spells of dew,
My senses steal, my reason woo,
And sing a lullaby to tare,
But vainly do the warm airs sing,
All vain the roses' rapturous breath;
A chill blast, as from wintry wing,
Smites on my heart, and, shuddering,
I see the beauty changed to death.
Afar I see it loom and rise,
That pitiless and icy shape.
It blots the blue, it dims the skies;
Amid the summer land it cries,
"I come, and there is no escape!"
O, bitter drop in bloom and sweet!
O, canker on the smiling day!
Have we but climbed the hill to meet
Thy fronting fare, thy eyes of sleet?
To hate, yet dare not turn away?
I sit beneath a leaden sky,
Amid the piled and drifted snow;
My feet are on the graves where lie
The roses which made haste to die
So long, so very long ago.
The sobbing wind is fierce and strong,
Its cry is like a human wail,
But in my heart it sings this song:
"Not long, O Lord! O Lord, not long!
Surely thy spring-time shall prevail."
Out of the darkness and the cold,
Out of the wintry depths I lean,
And lovingly I clasp and hold
The promises, and see unrolled
A vision of the summer green.
O, life in death, sweet plucked from pain!
O, distant vision fair to see!
Up the long hill we press and strain;
We can bear all things and attain,
If once our faces turn to Thee!