From off the earth the vapours curled,
Went up to meet their joy;
The boy awoke, and all the world
Was waiting for the boy!
The sky, the water, the wide earth
Was full of windy play–
Shining and fair, alive with mirth,
All for his holiday!
The hill said “Climb me;” and the wood
“Come to my bosom, child;
Mine is a merry gamboling brood,
Come, and with them go wild.”
The shadows with the sunlight played,
The birds were singing loud;
The hill stood up with pines arrayed–
He ran to join the crowd.
But long ere noon, dark grew the skies,
Pale grew the shrinking sun:
“How soon,” he said, “for clouds to rise
When day was but begun!”
The wind grew rough; a wilful power
It swept o’er tree and town;
The boy exulted for an hour,
Then weary sat him down.
And as he sat the rain began,
And rained till all was still:
He looked, and saw a rainbow span
The vale from hill to hill.
He dried his tears. “Ah, now,” he said,
“The storm was good, I see!
Yon pine-dressed hill, upon its head
I’ll find the golden key!”
He thrid the copse, he climbed the fence,
At last the top did scale;
But, lo, the rainbow, vanished thence,
Was shining in the vale!
“Still, here it stood! yes, here,” he said,
“Its very foot was set!
I saw this fir-tree through the red,
This through the violet!”
He searched and searched, while down the skies
Went slow the slanting sun.
At length he lifted hopeless eyes,
And day was nearly done!
Beyond the vale, above the heath,
High flamed the crimson west;
His mother’s cottage lay beneath
The sky-bird’s rosy breast.
“Oh, joy,” he cried, “not all the way
Farther from home we go!
The rain will come another day
And bring another bow!”
Long ere he reached his mother’s cot,
Still tiring more and more,
The red was all one cold gray blot,
And night lay round the door.
But when his mother stroked his head
The night was grim in vain;
And when she kissed him in his bed
The rainbow rose again.
Soon, things that are and things that seem
Did mingle merrily;
He dreamed, nor was it all a dream,
His mother had the key.