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Sweet Bells Jangled

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IX.

AN IDYL OF THE EARLY SPRING

Oh! Clear and calm and open as
     The forehead of a sleeping child,
And blue and cool and far away,
     The April heaven o’er me smiled!
The violets from their low, green homes
     Peeped up, and patterned by its hue;
“We will be like the sky,” they said,
     “Forever pure, forever blue!”

Dropped through the branches of the beech,―
      Unleaved and sear from wintry stress,―
The fervid kisses of the sun
     Recalled the earth to blessedness.
And, startled from her long, white trance,
     Abashed and scantly clad she lay;
Meanwhile the robin’s glancing breast
     Gave life and gladness to the day.

And where the creeping wintergreen
     Its fruit in coral broidery weaves,
I found the shy arbutus hid
     Beneath the crisp and russet leaves.
The fair patrician of the woods!
     Their daintiest treasure,― pink and white!
As balmy as the myrtle flower.
     That sweetens the Italian night.

The vagrant brightness of the days
     Had coaxed a freshness to the moss;
And many a brown and naked stretch
     By maple blooms was blown across.
Like swarms of tiny winged things,
     Clinging to branches bare and high,
Their tender scarlet clusters shone
     Against the blueness of the sky.

There were mysterious gleams of white
     Among the hollows, lying low,
Drooped over by dusk evergreens,―
     But I could laugh at April snow.
I knew its fostering mantle hid
     The darlings of the coming May,
When constant Nature should fulfil
     Her premonitions of to-day.

And sudden, silver sweet, I heard
     A bluebird singing in the hedge;
Near by a venturous wood-flower sunned
     Its whiteness on a mossy ledge.
Therefore I could no longer doubt,―
     So much was plain to eye and ear,―
And thrilled with sudden joy, I cried,
     “The Spring, the pleasant Spring, is here!”

“but such a brightness never shone
     On hill and dale and stream before,―
Or else my eyes were strangely dull,
     And could not see so well of yore!”
That rogue, the bluebird, as I spoke,
     Proclaimed my secret far and near;
Out of his merry heart he sang:
     “Be glad! For Love and Spring are here!”


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