Littell's Living Age/Volume 143/Issue 1842/The Song of a Summer Stream

Originally published in Sunday Magazine.

The Song of a Summer Stream


     A few months ago
     I was singing through the snow,
Though the dead, brown boughs gave no hope of summer shoots;
     And my persevering fall
     Seemed to be no use at all,
For the hard, hard frost would not let me reach the roots.

     Then the mists hung chill
     All along the wooded hill,
And the cold, sad fog through my lonely dingles crept;
     I was glad I had no power
     To awake one tender flower
To a sure, swift doom! I would rather that it slept.

     Still I sang all alone,
     In the sweet old summer tone,
For the strong, white ice could not hush me for a day;
     Though no other voice was heard,
     Save the bitter breeze that whirred
Past the gaunt, gray trunks on its wild and angry way.

     So the dim days sped,
     While everything seemed dead,
And my own poor flow seemed the only living sign;
     And the keen stars shone,
     When the freezing night came on,
From the far, far heights, all so cold and crystalline.

                      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     A few months ago,
     I was singing through the snow!
But now the blessed sunshine is filling all the land!
     And the memories are lost
     Of the winter fog and frost
In the presence of the summer with her full and glowing hand.

     Now the woodlark comes to drink
     At my cool and pearly brink,
And the lady-fern is bending to kiss my rainbow foam;
     And the wild-rose buds entwine
     With the dark-leaved bramble vine,
And the centuried oak is green around the bright-eyed squirrel’s home.

     Oh, the full and glad content
     That my little song is blent
With the all-melodious mingling of the choristers around!
     I no longer sing alone,
     Through a chill, pervading moan,
For the very air is trembling with its wealth of summer sound.

     Though the hope seemed long deferred
     Ere the south wind’s whisper heard,
Gave a promise of the passing of the weary winter days;
     Yet the blessing was secure,
     For the summer-time was sure,
When the lonely songs are gathered in a mighty choir of praise.