06 November 2013

April - An 1846 Poem

By Wm. H.C. Hosmer. April 14.
A subtle masquer is abroad,
Attended by a merry band,
Gemming with emerald the sod,
And breathing fragrance through the land :
Now, in a robe of blue and gold,
He wraps his form of graceful mould,
And whispers — 'I am May,'
In tones of ravishment — soon
He puts more gloomy raiment on
A sterner part to play.
By April of the sunny tress
The mighty spell of death is broke,
As marble, with a fond caress,
To life the son of Belus woke :
His magic flute of many keys
Gives to the soft, enamored breeze,
Notes that recall the lost —
Plumed exiles far away that flew
When brown the leaves of Autumn grew,
Touched by a 'killing frost.'
The blackbird chants, musician shrill,
Perched lightly on some budding tree,
And the blithe robin opens her bill
Flooding the grove with melody :
The blue-bird carols on the wing,
And in my frozen heart the spring
Of joy wells up again;
You lark, whose pulsing breast hath drawn
Its color from the golden dawn,
Whistles a cheerful strain.
Buds of the maple, redly tinged,
Are bursting in the naked wood,
And passing clouds, with amber fringed,
Drop diamonds on the dimpling flood,
Moist mould, disturbed by spade or plow,
A grateful smell is yielding now
In field and garden-close;
Bright trout are leaping in the brook,
And craftily his baited hook
The silent angler throws.
Few violets as yet adorn
Glade, river-bank and meadow-sod;
But welcome to the wind of morn
The daffodil and crocus nod :
More gorgeous pets can June-time boast,
But vernal flowers call up a host
Of recollections dear,
And fair, expanding hopes that die,
Or dormant in the bosom lie
When older grows the year.
While crimson with a quicker flow
Is coursing through the veins of age
He deems the scroll of Long Ago,
Though blurred, a newly-written page.
Gay Childhood of the radiant brow
His maddest prank is playing now,
Waking his wildest cry :
No longer closeted with books
On wave and land the Student looks —
Enchantment in his eye.
The moonshine of an April night
Is balsam to a fevered soul.
And pastures, bathed in glimmering light,
Invites me forth alone to stroll;
And fall my feet without a sound
Upon its tender green;
Earth, late so desert like, hath donn'd
Vestments in beauty far beyond
The wardrobe of a queen.
Light curtain-folds of hazy blue
Hang, star-emblazoned, in the sky,
And far-off groves, that limit view,
Tower with their silvery tops on high :
The music of a ceaseless hymn
That riseth from the cloisters dim,
Quells the low plaint of Care;
Voices, inaudible when Day
A babbler loud, holds gaudy sway,
Float on the tides of air.
Thrice welcome, April! Beauty sips
One draught of thy refreshing wine,
And Song once more is on her lips,
Bloom on her countenance divine,
Retreating Winter vainly flings
A snow-flake from his feeble wings
To mar thy work of joy;
The sports of Easter are thine own
When manhood throws his burden down,
And personates the boy.
Earth's Laureate Bard in other years,
Warmed into being by the breath,
Drank from thy cup of sun-lit tears,
And learned thy spell to conquer Death.
The lights and shadows of thy face
Upon his pictured leaves we trace,
Thy humors quaint and wild;
The Skeletons of Rain heard
His awful, vivifying word,
And, like thy landscape, smiled.
April 25, 1846. New York Daily Tribune 6(14): 4.