The bloom of tenderer flowers is past
And lilies droop forlorn,
For winter-time is come at last,
Rich with its ripened corn;
Yet for the wealth of blossoms lost
Some hardier flowers appear
That bid defiance to the frost
Of sterner days, my dear.
The vines, remembering summer, shiver
In frosty winds, and gain
A fuller life from mere endeavour
To live through all that pain;
Yet in the struggle and acquist
They turn as pale and wan
As lonely women who have missed
Known love, now lost and gone.
Then may these winter days show forth
To you each known delight,
Bring all that women count as worth
Pure happiness and bright;
While villages, with bustling cry,
Bring home the ripened corn,
And herons wheel through wintry sky,
Forget sad thoughts forlorn.
Now, dearest, lend a heedful ear
And listen while I sing
Delights to every maiden dear,
The charms of early spring:
When earth is dotted with the heaps
Of corn, when heron-scream
Is rare but sweet, when passion leaps
And paints a livelier dream.
When all must cheerfully applaud
A blazing open fire;
Or if they needs must go abroad,
The sun is their desire;
When everybody hopes to find
The frosty chill allayed
By garments warm, a window-blind
Shut, and a sweet young maid.
Then may the days of early spring
For you be rich and full
With love’s proud, soft philandering
And many a candy-pull,
With sweetest rice and sugar-cane:
And may you float above
The absent grieving and the pain
Of separated love.
A stalwart soldier comes, the spring,
Who bears the bow of Love;
And on that bow, the lustrous string
Is made of bees, that move
With malice as they speed the shaft
Of blossoming mango-flower
At us, dear, who have never laughed
At love, nor scorned his power.
Their blossom-burden weights the trees;
The winds in fragrance move;
The lakes are bright with lotuses,
The women bright with love;
The days are soft, the evenings clear
And charming; everything
That moves and lives and blossoms, dear,
Is sweeter in the spring.
The groves are beautifully bright
For many and many a mile
With jasmine-flowers that are as white
As loving woman’s smile:
The resolution of a saint
Might well be tried by this;
Far more, young hearts that fancies paint
With dreams of loving bliss.
* * * * *