When through thy arching aisles,
O Nature, I perceive
What brooding stillness fills the lonesome choirs
Where, heaven'd late, thy sweet musicians sung;
What rude benumbing touch
Strips from reluctant boughs
The languid leaves, and bares to common view
The sacred nest,—the mute, expressive nest,
Whose state defenseless tells
Of fledgeling treasures flown,—
Then, like the prudent birds, my thoughts take flight,
Winging o'er wintry fields to find the spring.
Somewhere on Earth's cold breast
The dauntless crocus glows,
And fair Narcissus hangs his head and dreams:
There,—laughing, blushing, like a happy bride,
With tears in her sweet eyes
To kiss away, shyly
The Maiden comes, and, as she moves along,
The woods and waking wolds intone her praise.
I, too, where all things tell
Of Autumn chill and blight,—
I, too, will praise her, ay, with transport hymn
The unforgotten sweetness of the spring.
How desolate were Man
If, robbed of dear delight,
He might not with remembrance fond pursue
And find his happiness, and lead it back!
The mournful Stygian shades
Were less forlorn than he;
For they have memory, and cannot lose
Bright visions once in conscious bliss possessed!
Through Hades' wailful halls,
Bereft of Proserpine,
They pensive glide, yet feel the far, sweet spring,
And seem to breathe lost Enna's distant flowers.