How changed the scene from that I lately sang,
Of summer in the woods!
When all the leafy coverts rang,
Down to the deepest solitudes,
With sweet bird-harmonies of song
From the wild feathered throng.
But now the furious wind's sonorous bass
Sounds through the naked trees:
Music spreads forth her wing,
And in the air float melodies, which chase
Each other as they please,
And gambol as in ecstasies;
Each tree a harp, and every branch a string,
Touched by a hand unseen, now low, now high,
Outringing rapturous refrains,
And with great heaven's own minstrelsy
Flooding the hills and plains.
Some tremulous leaves still hang upon the boughs,
Quivering 'twixt life and death,
And yonder willow sways and sighs and bows,
Before the frost hath breathed her wintry breath,
And the last leaf falls flickering to its tomb, —
Relic of brightness and of bloom.
Walk through the wood, thrilled to the inmost core
By the wild concert of celestial sounds
In God's cathedral. Hear the wondrous roar
Of nature's organ, echoing in rounds
From the high headland to the ocean shore.
This is God's minster-choir,
By the blue heavens o'erspanned;
And now the song bursts forth from harp and lyre,
A hallelujah chorus loud,
A hurricane of praise which sweeps
Triumphantly from cloud to cloud,
As though the very heavens were bowed,
And then in silence sleeps.
Sweet silence! like the cadence of a psalm:
The storm was sudden, and the hallowing calm
As sudden as the storm;
Not a breath stirs, and zephyr soft as balm
Brings peace in its most lovely form.
Only the whispering rill I hear,
With its mild vesper hymn the trees among,
And, beautifully clear.
The robin's plaintive song.