THOUGH many suns have risen and set
Since thou, blithe May, wert born,
And Bards, who hailed thee, may forget
Thy gifts, thy beauty scorn;
There are who to a birthday strain
Confine not harp and voice,
But evermore throughout thy reign
Are grateful and rejoice!
Delicious odours! music sweet,
Too sweet to pass away! 10
Oh for a deathless song to meet
The soul's desire--a lay
That, when a thousand years are told,
Should praise thee, genial Power!
Through summer heat, autumnal cold,
And winter's dreariest hour.
Earth, sea, thy presence feel--nor less,
If yon ethereal blue
With its soft smile the truth express,
The heavens have felt it too. 20
The inmost heart of man if glad
Partakes a livelier cheer;
And eyes that cannot but be sad
Let fall a brightened tear.
Since thy return, through days and weeks
Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks
Have kindled into health!
The Old, by thee revived, have said,
"Another year is ours;" 30
And wayworn Wanderers, poorly fed
Have smiled upon thy flowers.
Who tripping lisps a merry song
Amid his playful peers?
The tender Infant who was long
A prisoner of fond fears;
But now, when every sharp-edged blast
Is quiet in its sheath,
His Mother leaves him free to taste
Earth's sweetness in thy breath. 40
Thy help is with the weed that creeps
Along the humblest ground;
No cliff so bare but on its steeps
Thy favours may be found;
But most on some peculiar nook
That our own hands have drest,
Thou and thy train are proud to look,
And seem to love it best.
And yet how pleased we wander forth
When May is whispering, "Come! 50
"Choose from the bowers of virgin earth
"The happiest for your home;
"Heaven's bounteous love through me is spread
"From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves,
"Drops on the mouldering turret's head,
"And on your turf-clad graves!"
Such greeting heard, away with sighs
For lilies that must fade,
Or "the rathe primrose as it dies
Forsaken" in the shade! 60
Vernal fruitions and desires
Are linked in endless chase;
While, as one kindly growth retires,
Another takes its place.
And what if thou, sweet May, hast known,
Mishap by worm and blight;
If expectations newly blown
Have perished in thy sight;
If loves and joys, while up they sprung,
Were caught as in a snare; 70
Such is the lot of all the young,
However bright and fair.
Lo! Streams that April could not check
Are patient of thy rule;
Gurgling in foamy water-break,
Loitering in glassy pool:
By thee, thee only, could be sent
Such gentle mists as glide,
Curling with unconfirmed intent,
On that green mountain's side. 80
How delicate the leafy veil
Through which yon house of God
Gleams, mid the peace of this deep dale
By few but shepherds trod!
And lowly huts, near beaten ways,
No sooner stand attired
In thy fresh wreaths, than they for praise
Peep forth, and are admired.
Season of fancy and of hope,
Permit not for one hour, 90
A blossom from thy crown to drop,
Nor add to it a flower!
Keep, lovely May, as if by touch
Of self-restraining art,
This modest charm of not too much,
Part seen, imagined part!