**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Spring Poems
by [?]

There is no month oftener on the tongues of the poets than April. It is the initiative month; it opens the door of the seasons; the interest and expectations of the untried, the untasted, lurk in it,

“From you have I been absent in the spring,”

says Shakespeare in one of his sonnets,–

“When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.”

The following poem, from Tennyson’s “In Memoriam,” might be headed “April,” and serve as descriptive of parts of our season:–

“Now fades the last long streak of snow,
Now bourgeons every maze of quick
About the flowering squares, and thick
By ashen roots the violets blow.

“Now rings the woodland loud and long,
The distance takes a lovelier hue,
And drowned in yonder living blue
The lark becomes a sightless song.

“Now dance the lights on lawn and lea,
The flocks are whiter down the vale,
And milkier every milky sail
On winding stream or distant sea;

“Where now the sea-mew pipes, or dives
In yonder greening gleam, and fly
The happy birds, that change their sky
To build and brood; that live their lives

“From land to land; and in my breast
Spring wakens too; and my regret
Becomes an April violet,
And buds and blossoms like the rest.”

In the same poem the poet asks:–

“Can trouble live with April days?”

Yet they are not all jubilant chords that this season awakens. Occasionally there is an undertone of vague longing and sadness, akin to that which one experiences in autumn. Hope for a moment assumes the attitude of memory and stands with reverted look. The haze, that in spring as well as in fall sometimes descends and envelops all things, has in it in some way the sentiment of music, of melody, and awakens pensive thoughts. Elizabeth Akers, in her “April,” has recognized and fully expressed this feeling. I give the first and last stanzas:–

“The strange, sweet days are here again,
The happy-mournful days;
The songs which trembled on our lips
Are half complaint, half praise.

“Swing, robin, on the budded sprays,
And sing your blithest tune;–
Help us across these homesick days
Into the joy of June!”

This poet has also given a touch of spring in her “March,” which, however, should be written “April” in the New England climate:–

“The brown buds thicken on the trees,
Unbound, the free streams sing,
As March leads forth across the leas
The wild and windy spring.

“Where in the fields the melted snow
Leaves hollows warm and wet,
Ere many days will sweetly blow
The first blue violet.”

But on the whole the poets have not been eminently successful in depicting spring. The humid season, with its tender, melting blue sky, its fresh, earthy smells, its new furrow, its few simple signs and awakenings here and there, and its strange feeling of unrest,– how difficult to put its charms into words! None of the so-called pastoral poets have succeeded in doing it. That is the best part of spring which escapes a direct and matter-of-fact description of her. There is more of spring in a line or two of Chaucer and Spenser than in the elaborate portraits of her by Thomson or Pope, because the former had spring in their hearts, and the latter only in their inkhorns. Nearly all Shakespeare’s songs are spring songs,–full of the banter, the frolic, and the love-making of the early season. What an unloosed current, too, of joy and fresh new life and appetite in Burns!

In spring everything has such a margin! there are such spaces of silence! The influences are at work underground. Our delight is in a few things. The drying road is enough; a single wild flower, the note of the first bird, the partridge drumming in the April woods, the restless herds, the sheep steering for the uplands, the cow lowing in the highway or hiding her calf in the bushes, the first fires, the smoke going up through the shining atmosphere, from the burning of rubbish in gardens and old fields,–each of these simple things fills the breast with yearning and delight, for they are tokens of the spring. The best spring poems have this singleness and sparseness. Listen to Solomon: “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.” In Wordsworth are some things that breathe the air of spring. These lines, written in early spring, afford a good specimen:–