Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Peach-Blossom
By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)
 
[From Poetical Works. Household Edition. 1883.]

NIGHTLY the hoar-frost freezes
  The young grass of the field,
Nor yet have blander breezes
  The buds of the oak unsealed:
Not yet pours out the pine        5
His airy resinous wine;
But over the southern slope,
In the heat and hurry of hope,
The wands of the peach-tree first
Into rosy beauty burst:        10
A breath, and the sweet buds ope!
A day, and the orchards bare,
Like maids in haste to be fair,
Lightly themselves adorn
With a scarf the Spring at the door        15
Has sportively flung before,
Or a stranded cloud of the morn!
 
What spirit of Persia cometh
  And saith to the buds, “Unclose!”
Ere ever the first bee hummeth,        20
  Or woodland wild flower blows?
What prescient soul in the sod
Garlands each barren rod
With fringes of bloom that speak
Of the baby’s tender breast,        25
And the boy’s pure lip unpressed,
And the pink of the maiden’s cheek?
The swift, keen Orient so
Prophesies as of old,
While the apple’s blood is cold,        30
Remembering the snow.
 
Afar, through the mellow hazes
  Where the dreams of June are stayed,
The hills, in their vanishing mazes,
  Carry the flush, and fade!        35
Southward they fall, and reach
To the bay and the ocean beach,
Where the soft, half-Syrian air
Blows from the Chesapeake’s
Inlets and coves and creeks        40
On the fields of Delaware!
And the rosy lakes of flowers,
That here alone are ours,
Spread into seas that pour
Billow and spray of pink        45
Even to the blue wave’s brink,
All down the Eastern Shore!
 
Pain, Doubt, and Death are over!
  Who thinks, to-day, of toil?
The fields are certain of clover,        50
  The gardens of wine and oil.
What though the sap of the North
Drowsily peereth forth
In the orchards, and still delays?
The peach and the poet know        55
Under the chill the glow,
And the token of golden days!
 
What fool, to-day, would rather
  In wintry memories dwell?
What miser reach to gather        60
  The fruit these boughs foretell?
No, no!—the heart has room
For present joy alone,
Light shed and sweetness blown,
For odor and color and bloom!        65
As the earth in the shining sky,
Our lives in their own bliss lie;
Whatever is taught or told,
However men moan and sigh,
Love never shall grow cold,        70
And Life shall never die!

  1877.
 
 
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