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Now That Spring Is Here
by [?]

When the sun set last night it was still winter. The persons who passed northward in the dusk from the city’s tumult thrust their hands deep into their pockets and walked to a sharp measure. But a change came in the night. The north wind fell off and a breeze blew up from the south. Such stars as were abroad at dawn left off their shrill winter piping–if it be true that stars really sing in their courses–and pitched their voices to April tunes. One star in particular that hung low in the west until the day was up, knew surely that the Spring had come and sang in concert with the earliest birds. There is a dull belief that these early birds shake off their sleep to get the worm. Rather, they come forth at this hour to cock their ears upon the general heavens for such new tunes as the unfaded stars still sing. If an ear is turned down to the rummage of worms in the earth–for to the superficial, so does the attitude attest–it is only that the other ear may be turned upward to catch the celestial harmonies; for birds know that if there is an untried melody in heaven it will sound first across the clear pastures of the dawn. All the chirping and whistling from the fields and trees are then but the practice of the hour. When the meadowlark sings on a fence-rail she but cons her lesson from the stars.

It is on such a bright Spring morning that the housewife, duster in hand, throws open her parlor window and looks upon the street. A pleasant park is below, of the size of a city square, and already it stirs with the day’s activity. The housewife beats her cloth upon the sill and as the dust flies off, she hears the cries and noises of the place. In a clear tenor she is admonished that there is an expert hereabouts to grind her knives. A swarthy baritone on a wagon lifts up his voice in praise of radishes and carrots. His eye roves along the windows. The crook of a hungry finger will bring him to a stand. Or a junkman is below upon his business. Yesterday the bells upon his cart would have sounded sour, but this morning they rattle agreeably, as though a brisker cow than common, springtime in her hoofs, were jangling to her pasture. At the sound–if you are of country training–you see yourself, somewhat misty through the years, barefoot in a grassy lane, with stick in hand, urging the gentle beast. There is a subtle persuasion in the junkman’s call. In these tones did the magician, bawling for old lamps, beguile Aladdin. If there were this morning in my lodging an unrubbed lamp, I would toss it from the window for such magic as he might extract from it. And if a fair Princess should be missing at the noon and her palace be skipped from sight, it will follow on the rubbing of it.

The call of red cherries in the park–as you might guess from its Italian source–is set to an amorous tune. What lady, smocked in morning cambric, would not be wooed by such a voice? The gay fellow tempts her to a purchase. It is but a decent caution–now that Spring is here–that the rascal does not call his wares by moonlight. As for early peas this morning, it is Pan himself who peddles them–disguised and smirched lest he be caught in the deception–Pan who stamps his foot and shakes the thicket–whose habit is to sing with reedy voice of the green willows that dip in sunny waters. Although he now clatters his tins and baskets and cries out like a merchant, his thoughts run to the black earth and the shady hollows and the sound of little streams.