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PAGE 2

Midsummer Days And Midsummer Nights
by [?]

The mathematicians and such-like dry personages confine midsummer to one day in June; but we who are untrammelled by science know a great deal better. For us midsummer lasts till August is half over, and we utterly refuse to trouble ourselves about equinoxes and solstices and trivialities of that kind. For us it is midsummer while the sun is warm, while the trees hold their green, while the dancing waves fling their blossoms of foam under the darting rays that dazzle us, while the sacred night is soft and warm and the cool airs are wafted like sounds of blessings spoken in the scented darkness. For us the solstice is abolished, and we sturdily refuse to give up our midsummer till the first gleam of yellow comes on the leaves. We are not all lucky enough to see the leagues upon leagues of overpowering colour as the sun comes up on the Alps; we cannot all rest in the glittering seclusion of Norwegian fiords; but most of us, in our modest way, can enjoy our extravagantly prolonged midsummer beside the shore of our British waters. Spring is the time for hope; our midsummer is the time for ripened joy, for healthful rest; and we are satisfied with the beaches and cliffs that are hallowed by many memories–we are satisfied with simple copses and level fields. They say that spring is the poet’s season; but we know better. Spring is all very well for those who have constant leisure; it is good to watch the gradual bursting of early buds; it is good to hear the thrush chant his even-song of love; it is good to rest the eye on the glorious clouds of bloom that seem to float in the orchards. But the midsummer, the gallant midsummer, pranked in manifold splendours, is the true season of poetry for the toilers. The birds of passage who are now crowding out of the towns have had little pleasure in the spring, and their blissful days are only now beginning. What is it to them that the seaside landlady crouches awaiting her prey? What is it to them that ‘Arry is preparing to make night hideous? They are bound for their rest, and the surcease of toil is the only thing that suggests poetry to them. Spring the season for poets! We wipe away that treasonable suggestion just as we have wiped out the solstice. We holiday makers are not going to be tyrannized over by literary and scientific persons, and we insist on taking our own way. Our blood beats fully only at this season, and not even the extortioners’ bills can daunt us. Let us break into poetry and flout the maudlin enthusiasts who prate of spring.

With a ripple of leaves and a twinkle of streams
The full world rolls in a rhythm of praise,
And the winds are one with the clouds and beams–
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
The dusks grow vast in a purple haze,
While the West from a rapture of sunset rights,
Faint stars their exquisite lamps upraise–
Midsummer nights! O Midsummer nights!

* * * * *

The wood’s green heart is a nest of dreams,
The lush grass thickens and springs and sways,
The rathe wheat rustles, the landscape gleams–
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
In the stilly fields, in the stilly way,
All secret shadows and mystic lights,
Late lovers, murmurous, linger and gaze–
Midsummer nights! O Midsummer nights!

* * * * *

There’s a swagger of bells from the trampling teams,
Wild skylarks hover, the gorses blaze,
The rich ripe rose as with incense steams–
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
A soul from the honeysuckle strays,
And the nightingale, as from prophet heights,
Speaks to the Earth of her million Mays–
Midsummer nights! O Midsummer nights!