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BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed Their snow-white blossoms on my head, With brightest sunshine round me spread
Of Spring's unclouded weather, In this sequestered nook how sweet To sit upon my orchard-seat ! And birds and flowers once more to greet,
My last year's friends together.
One have I marked, the happiest guest
In all this covert of the blest:
Hail to thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion !
Thou, Linnet ! in thy green array,
Presiding spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May;
And this is thy dominion.
While birds, and butterflies, and flowers,
Make all one band of paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,
Art sole in thy employment:
A Life, a Presence like the air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair ;
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Amid yon tuft of hazel-trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perched in ecstasies,
Yet seeming still to hover;
There! where the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,
That cover him all over.
My dazzled sight he oft deceives,
A brother of the dancing leaves ;
Then flits, and from the cottage-eaves
Pours forth a song in gushes;
As if by that exulting strain
He mocked and treated with disdain
The voiceless form he chose to feign,
While fluttering in the bushes.
TO A SKYLARK. Up with me! up with me into the clouds !
For thy song, Lark, is strong;
Up with me! up with me into the clouds !
With clouds and sky about thee ringing,
Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind!
I have walked through wildernesses dreary,
And to-day my heart is weary ;
Had I now the wings of a Faery,
Up to thee would I fly.
There is madness about thee, and joy divine
In that song of thine ;
Lift me, guide me high and high
To thy banqueting-place in the sky.
Joyous as morning,
Thou art laughing and scorning;
Thou hast a nest for thy love and thy rest,
And, though little troubled with sloth,
Drunken Lark! thou wouldst be loth
To be such a traveller as I.
Happy, happy Liver,
With a soul as strong as a mountain river
Pouring out praise to the Almighty Giver,
Joy and jollity be with us both !
Alas ! my journey, rugged and uneven,
Through prickly moors or dusty ways must wind;
But hearing thee, or others of thy kind,
As full of gladness and as free of heaven,
I, with my fate contented, will plod on,
And hope for higher raptures, when life's day is
Pansies, lilies, kingcups, daisies,
Let them live upon their praises ;
Long as there 's a sun that sets,
Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are violets,
They will have a place in story :
There's a flower that shall be mine,
'T is the little Celandine.
Eyes of some men travel far
For the finding of a star ;
Up and down the heavens they go,
Men that keep a mighty rout!
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Since the day I found thee out,
Little Flower !- I'll make a stir,
Like a sage astronomer.
Modest, yet withal an Elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself;
Since we needs must first have met,
I have seen thee, high and low, ,
Thirty years or more, and yet
’T was a face I did not know; Thou hast now, go where I may, Fifty greetings in a day.
Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the thrush
Has a thought about her nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal ;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or none.
Poets, vain men in their mood !
Travel with the multitude :
Never heed them ; I aver
That they all are wanton wooers ;
But the thrifty cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,
Joys to spy thee near at home ;
Spring is coming, thou art come!
Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly, unassuming Spirit !
Careless of thy neighborhood,
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the lane ; — there 's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 't is good enough for thee.