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The Months: A Pageant
by [?]

How the doors rattle, and the branches sway!
Here’s brother March comes whirling on his way
With winds that eddy and sing.

[She turns the handle of the door, which bursts open, and discloses March hastening up, both hands full of violets and anemones.]


Come, show me what you bring;
For I have said my say, fulfilled my day,
And must away.


[Stopping short on the threshold.]

I blow an arouse
Through the world’s wide house
To quicken the torpid earth:
Grappling I fling
Each feeble thing,
But bring strong life to the birth.
I wrestle and frown,
And topple down;
I wrench, I rend, I uproot;
Yet the violet
Is born where I set
The sole of my flying foot,

[Hands violets and anemones to February, who retires into the background.]

And in my wake
Frail wind-flowers quake,
And the catkins promise fruit.
I drive ocean ashore
With rush and roar,
And he cannot say me nay:
My harpstrings all
Are the forests tall,
Making music when I play.
And as others perforce,
So I on my course
Run and needs must run,
With sap on the mount
And buds past count
And rivers and clouds and sun,
With seasons and breath
And time and death
And all that has yet begun.

[Before March has done speaking, a voice is heard approaching accompanied by a twittering of birds. April comes along singing, and stands outside and out of sight to finish her song.]



Pretty little three
Sparrows in a tree,
Light upon the wing;
Though you cannot sing
You can chirp of Spring:
Chirp of Spring to me,
Sparrows, from your tree.

Never mind the showers,
Chirp about the flowers
While you build a nest:
Straws from east and west,
Feathers from your breast,
Make the snuggest bowers
In a world of flowers.

You must dart away
From the chosen spray,
You intrusive third
Extra little bird;
Join the unwedded herd!
These have done with play,
And must work to-day.


[Appearing at the open door.]

Good-morrow and good-bye: if others fly,
Of all the flying months you’re the most flying.


You’re hope and sweetness, April.


Birth means dying,
As wings and wind mean flying;
So you and I and all things fly or die;
And sometimes I sit sighing to think of dying.
But meanwhile I’ve a rainbow in my showers,
And a lapful of flowers,
And these dear nestlings aged three hours;
And here’s their mother sitting,
Their father’s merely flitting
To find their breakfast somewhere in my bowers.

[As she speaks April shows March her apron full of flowers and nest full of birds. March wanders away into the grounds. April, without entering the cottage, hangs over the hungry nestlings watching them.]


What beaks you have, you funny things,
What voices shrill and weak;
Who’d think that anything that sings
Could sing through such a beak?
Yet you’ll be nightingales one day,
And charm the country-side,
When I’m away and far away
And May is queen and bride.

[May arrives unperceived by April, and gives her a kiss. April starts and looks round.]


Ah May, good-morrow May, and so good-bye.


That’s just your way, sweet April, smile and sigh:
Your sorrow’s half in fun,
Begun and done
And turned to joy while twenty seconds run.
I’ve gathered flowers all as I came along,
At every step a flower
Fed by your last bright shower,–

[She divides an armful of all sorts of flowers with April, who strolls away through the garden.]