Australian and Other Poems/Australian Winter

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Chill is the season, yet so bright the rays
The sun diffuses from his northern home,
That, like a well-proved friend who distant strays
His spell beneficent is slow to roam.

The woods are bright, although their sheen grows less,
Like bride who lays her wedding-garb aside;
The waters sparkle, though in mellowness.
Like beauty's smile when youth has veiled its pride.

The hoar-frost marks the grassy lawn at morn,
But fades when the first matin beam appears,
Till earth grows bright, as those erewhile forlorn,
Joy when their hope a sunlit aspect wears.

We miss the leafless wood, the frost-bound earth,
The waters sealed within their icy bed;
We miss the snow that folds the autumn's birth.
Like shrouds that lie around the early dead.

We miss the robin twittering on the sill,
Shut from the hedge that late was all his own,
The frugal snipe that sips the freezeless rill,
The thrifty sparrow, and the blackbird lone.

Vain too we seek the social charms that live
Around the thronging hearth, and well-piled board,
When winter's terrors doubled value give
To all the wealth domestic virtues hoard.

Bright change to Spring's delightful bloom we want —
Our fadeless woods know neither spring nor fall;
We miss the visions that the soul enchant.
When Hope depicts the teeming year's recall.

Thus though the clime from rigours may be free,
It wants what rougher zones are glad to boast;
Thus may we learn that by the wise decree,
All have some proper bliss, the neediest most.