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Littell's Living Age/Volume 169/Issue 2189/When First the Willows' Budding Spray

When first the willows' budding spray
     Showed silver plumelets by the river,
When first the nesting birds were gay
     With painted breasts and throats aquiver,
Along the pleasant paths they strayed,
     So happy in the primrose weather,
The one a youth, the one a maid,
     They walked the willow walk together.
He pointed to a little bird
     That worked and sang, its fond nest rearing,
He whispered softly and she heard
     The song no more, him only hearing.
I know naught else - they wandered on
     Far down the willows' wicker alley.
More tenderly the May sun shone,
     And smiled the verdant river valley.
I watched till, in the winding lane
     With infant leafage shyly shaded,
The idyl of the whispering swain
     And listening maiden gently faded.
The thrush, full-throated, caroled fast,
     I felt its spell yet did not hear it;
It seemed as though the springtide passed
     Before me its embodied spirit.
And youth's first sweetness came again,
     Mine own and all in song or story;
We share life with our fellow-men,
     Their grief o pain, their love our glory.