Hand in Hand/In the Sunshine

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In the Sunshine

IT was spring-time, but not the early spring;
April had wept her blue eyes clear again,
And happy children tumbled in the grass,
And little fingers forged a daisy chain,
In whose slight fetters willing captives lay;
While older children watched the pretty play
With smiling toleration in their eyes,
Who pares the same game last year—now too wise!

The scentless later violets grew by scores,
Untouched, no hand had cared to gather them;
Wild hyacinths were bluer than the skies,
The wind-flower danced upon its slender stem;
A foot above the ground the young corn stood,
And over all was poured a golden flood
Of warm May sunshine—in its radiant light
The whole world seemed transfigured to the sight.

Beneath a chestnut, pelted by the shower
Of milk-white blossom, which a gentle breeze
Shook lightly from the branches, over-ripe,
I lay in perfect ecstasy of ease.

I heard the plaintive cawing of the rook,
The pleasant murmur of the rippling brook;
I heard the cuckoo's oft-repeated call
And bursts of childish laughter over all.

With eyes half closed, and empty idle hands
That plucked at grass and flowers aimlessly,
I watched the flickering shadow of the leaves
Waving like fans upon the chestnut-trees.
It mattered nothing to me, as I lay,
That Love was gone, and Hope had flown away,
That Life had lost its sweetness and its grace,—
I only felt the sunshine in my face.

A little child came softly to my side,
With buttercups and daisies in its hand;
Half shy, half bold, it dropped them on my breast—
An infant's scheme most innocently planned.
This done, it turned, and shouting gleefully,
With tiny hurrying feet fled hast;
I never heeded it, but lay at rest,
The sunshine and the flowers upon my breast.

I felt the sunshine in my very heart.
Was yesterday so clouded and so sad,
And would to-morrow be like this, or that?
What mattered it? And yet I was not glad.
I only knew the sun shone overhead;
I only knew that underneath was spread

A perfumed carpet of the soft green grass,
On which I lay, and let the moments pass.

I saw, and saw not; heard, and did not hear;
But conscious only that a blessed ease
For this one hour took precedence of pain,
I felt the sunshine, and I was at peace.
I had no thought of past or future years;
I did not vex myself with hopes or fears;
My half-dropped lids hid neither smiles nor tears;
I scarce had found a rest more calm and deep
In that still place where one day I shall sleep.