Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
By Eliza Lanesford Cushing (17947–1886)
HARK to the silvery sound
  Of the soft April shower!
Telleth it not a pleasant tale
  Of bird and bee and flower?
See, as the bright drops fall,        5
  How swell the tiny buds
That gem each bare and leafless bough
  Like polished agate studs.
The alder by the brook
  Stands in her tasselled pride;        10
Oh, the pale willow decketh her
  As might beseem a bride;
And round the old oak’s foot,
  Where in their wintry play
The winds have swept the withered leaves,        15
  See, the Hepatica!
Its brown and mossy buds
  Greet the first breath of Spring;
And to her shrine its clustered flowers
  Their earliest offering bring.        20
In rocky cleft secure,
  The gaudy columbine
Shoots forth, ere wintry snows have fled,
  A floral wreath to twine.
And many a bud lies hid        25
  Beneath the foliage sere,
Waiting spring’s warm and wooing breath
  To deck the vernal year,
When, lo! sweet April comes—
  The wild bird hears her voice,        30
And through the groves on glancing wing
  Carols, ‘Rejoice! rejoice!’
Forth from her earthy nest
  The timid wood-moose steals,
And the blithe squirrel on the bough        35
  Her genial influence feels.
The purple hue of life
  Flushes the teeming earth;
Above, around, beneath the feet,
  Joy, beauty, spring to birth.        40
But on the distant verge
  Of the cerulean sky
Old Winter stands with angry frown
  And bids the siren fly.
He waves his banner dark,        45
  Raises his icy hand,
And the fierce storms of sleet and hail
  Obey his grim command.
She feareth not his wrath,
  But hides her sunny face        50
Behind a soft cloud’s fleecy fold
  For a brief instant’s space;
Then looketh gaily forth
  With smile of magic power,
That changeth all his icy darts        55
  To a bright diamond shower.
Capricious April, hail!
  Herald of all things fair!
’Tis thine to loose the imprisoned streams,
  The young buds are thy care.        60
To unobservant eye
  Thy charms are few, I ween;
But he who roves the woodland paths
  Where thy blithe foot hath been,
Will trace thee by the tufts        65
  Of fragrant early flowers,
That thy sweet breath hath waked to deck
  The dreary forest bowers;
And by the bursting buds,
  That at thy touch unfold        70
To clothe the tall trees’ naked arms
  With beauty all untold;
Will hear thy tuneful voice
  In the glad leaping streams,
And catch thy bland, yet fitful smile        75
  In showers and sunny gleams;—
Then welcome, April fair,
  Bright harbinger of May,
Month of blue skies and perfumed airs—
  The young year’s holiday!         80

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