The First Smile of Spring

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The First Smile of Spring
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Robert Sanderson
original title “Premier Sourire du Printemps”

While to their perverse work
Men run panting,
March that laughs, in spite of showers,
Quietly gets Spring ready.

For the little daisies,
Slyly, when all sleep,
He irons little collars
And chisels gold studs.

Through the orchard and the vineyard,
He goes, cunning hair-dresser,
With a swan-puff,
And powders snow-white the almond-tree.

Nature rests in her bed;
He goes down to the garden
And laces the rosebuds
In their green velvet corsets.

While composing solfeggios
That he sings in a low tone to the blackbirds,
He strews the meadows with snowdrops
And the woods with violets.

By the side of the cress in the brook
Where drinks the stag, with listening ear,
With his concealed hand he scatters
The silver bells of the lilies of the valley.

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Then, when his work is done
And his reign about to end,
On the threshold of April, turning his head,
He says, Spring, you may come!