previous next

Painted upon a Porte Livre.

How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
     In graceful counterfeit of flowers,
These children of the meadows, born
     Of sunshine and of showers!

How well the conscious wood retains
     The pictures of its flower-sown home,
The lights and shades, the purple stains,
     And golden hues of bloom!

It was a happy thought to bring
     To the dark season's frost and rime
This painted memory of spring,
     This dream of summer-time.

Our hearts are lighter for its sake,
     Our fancy's age renews its youth,
And dim-remembered fictions take
     The guise of present truth.

A wizard of the Merrimac,—
     So old ancestral legends say,—
Could call green leaf and blossom back
     To frosted stem and spray.

The dry logs of the cottage wall,
     Beneath his touch, put out their leaves;
The clay-bound swallow, at his call,
     Played round the icy eaves.

[34] The settler saw his oaken flail
     Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools he saw the pale,
     Sweet summer lilies rise.

To their old homes, by man profaned,
     Came the sad dryads, exiled long,
And through their leafy tongues complained
     Of household use and wrong.

The beechen platter sprouted wild,
     The pipkin wore its old-time green
The cradle o'er the sleeping child
     Became a leafy screen.

Haply our gentle friend hath met,
     While wandering in her sylvan quest,
Haunting his native woodlands yet,
     That Druid of the West;

And, while the dew on leaf and flower
     Glistened in moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard's spell of power,
     And caught his trick of skill.

But welcome, be it new or old,
     The gift which makes the day more bright,
And paints, upon the ground of cold
     And darkness, warmth and light!

Without is neither gold nor green;
     Within, for birds, the birch-logs sing;
Yet, summer-like, we sit between
     The autumn and the spring.

[35] The one, with bridal blush of rose,
     And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
     In smiles of saintly calm.

Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
     The sweet azalea's oaken dells,
And hide the bank where roses blow,
     And swing the azure bells!

O'erlay the amber violet's leaves,
     The purple aster's brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
     A life beyond their bloom.

And she, when spring comes round again,
     By greening slope and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain,
     Her darlings of the wood.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1855 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: