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Hawthorn and Lavender with Other Verses

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My songs were once of the sunrise:   They shouted it over the bar;First-footing the dawns, they flourished,   And flamed with the morning star.

My songs are now of the sunset:   Their brows are touched with light,But their feet are lost in the shadows   And wet with the dews of night.

Yet for the joy in their making   Take them, O fond and true,And for his sake who made them   Let them be dear to You.


Largo espressivo

In sumptuous chords, and strange,Through rich yet poignant harmonies:Subtle and strong browns, redsMagnificent with death and the pride of death,Thin, clamant greensAnd delicate yellows that exhaustThe exquisite chromatics of decay:From ruining gardens, from reluctant woods—Dear, multitudinously reluctant woods!—And sering margents, forcedTo be lean and bare and perished grace by grace,And flower by flower discharmed,Comes, to a purpose none,Not even the Scorner, which is the Fool, can blink,The dead-march of the year.

Dead things and dying!  Now the long-laboured soulListens, and pines.  But never a note of hopeSounds: whether in those high,Transcending unisons of resignationThat speed the sovran sun,As he goes southing, weakening, minishing,Almighty in obedience; or in thoseSmall, sorrowful colloquiesOf bronze and russet and gold,Colour with colour, dying things with dead,That break along this visual orchestra:As in that other one, the audible,Horn answers horn, hautboy and violinTalk, and the ’cello calls the clarionetAnd flute, and the poor heart is glad.There is no hope in these—only despair.

Then, destiny in act, ensuesThat most tremendous passage in the score:When hangman rains and winds have wroughtTheir worst, and, the brave lights gone down,The low strings, the brute brass, the sullen drumsSob, grovel, and curse themselvesSilent. . . .      But on the spirit of ManAnd on the heart of the World there fallsA strange, half-desperate peace:A war-worn, militant, gray jubilanceIn the unkind, implacable tyrannyOf Winter, the obscene,Old, crapulous Regent, who in his loins—O, who but feels he carries in his loinsThe wild, sweet-blooded, wonderful harlot, Spring?


Low—lowOver a perishing after-glow,A thin, red shred of moonTrailed.  In the windless airThe poplars all ranked lean and chill.The smell of winter loitered there,And the Year’s heart felt still.Yet not so far awaySeemed the mad Spring,But that, as lovers will,I let my laughing heart go play,As it had been a fond maid’s frolicking;And, turning thrice the gold I’d got,In the good gloomSolemnly wished me—what?What, and with whom?


Moon of half-candied meresAnd flurrying, fading snows;Moon of unkindly rains,Wild skies, and troubled vanes;When the Norther snarls and bites,And the lone moon walks a-cold,And the lawns grizzle o’ nights,And wet fogs search the fold:Here in this heart of mineA dream that warms like wine,A dream one other knows,Moon of the roaring weirsAnd the sip-sopping close,   February Fill-Dyke,Shapes like a royal rose—   A red, red rose!

O, but the distance clears!O, but the daylight grows!Soon shall the pied wind-flowersBabble of greening hours,Primrose and daffodilYearn to a fathering sun,The lark have all his will,The thrush be never done,And April, May, and JuneGo to the same blythe tuneAs this blythe dream of mine!Moon when the crocus peers,Moon when the violet blows,   February Fair-Maid,Haste, and let come the rose—   Let come the rose!