Littell's Living Age/Volume 133/Issue 1722/Captive Spring


What, gentle Spring, and art thou come? Desire,
Under the iron sceptre of thy sire,
Cried out for thee.
Fair truant! couldst thou not have flown
More quickly to our colder zone,
From those beyond the sea?
Or didst thou linger on, and grieve
The sunny southern land to leave?
Cease for awhile thy wandering,
Rest and be welcome, gentle Spring.

Why, like a maid that would the more be sought,.
Dost hide thee, almost ere thy beauty caught
Our eager view,
Behind yon cloud that frowning passed?
A laggard surely, and the last
Of winter's sullen crew
He will not aid thee in thy wiles:
See, at thy touch the traitor smiles;
And thou, discovered once again,
Shalt find thy shyness all in vain.

Besides, an hour ago her fragrance sweet
Disclosed the violet springing at my feet;
And I knew well,
Gazing upon the purple gem,
From whose bright veil or diadem
That tiny treasure fell.
I spied the crocus lifting up
His yellow head, his golden cup;
The very daisies in the grass
Showed me the way that Spring did pass.

Yield, then, fair nymph! for, goddess as thou art,
We will not let thee from our shore depart
Until thou bless
The land that all expectant lies,
And every soul that longing sighs
To feel thy soft caress.
The waking bees, the happy birds,
The timid flocks, the patient herds,
Thy presence own with grateful joy,
And silent mourn if thou art coy.

From thy full hands we claim the daffodil,
And those bright bells the midnight fairies fill
With honey dew;
Pink blossom of the almond-tree,
Tender laburnum hanging free,
And periwinkle blue.
Spare us those jewels from thy crown,
These buds that deck thy gauzy gown;
And stay thy flight, and fold thy wing —
We hold thee captive, gentle Spring.

Sydney Grey.