06 November 2013

The First Birds of Spring - An 1864 Poem

By G.M.R. Abingdon, April 4th, 1864. For the Virginian.
Gay warblers we greet you, with hearts overflowing,
Sweet harbingers bright of the opening spring,
With gladness we welcome your bright plumage glowing,
And list we with joy to the songs that you sing;
As ye flit through the trees;
Or sport in the breeze,
Or playfully wanton amid the green bracs.
The swelling rose-buds, too are longing to greet you,
The beautiful flowers will soon be in bloom;
Arrayed in their gayest attire they'll meet you,
And bathe your bright wings in their richest perfume,
While like a young bride,
In beauty and pride,
They'll seek with a green veil their blushes to hide.
How sad grows the heart when fond mem'ry unfolding
The scroll of the past now presents to its sight
Those golden-hued hours when my childhood beholding
The first birds of spring was entranced with delight,
And when, free as air,
For sorrow or care,
I eager pursued them from morn until night.
Yet, time rolling onward, these day dreams have vanish'd,
And dark is that shade which their glories displaced,
Love, innocence, childhood — all, all have been banish'd
By sin from the heart, and their brightness effaced;
And sadly and wearily,
Darkly and drearily,
Broodeth the spirit with friendship misplaced.
But pardon, sweet song birds, these sad retrospections,
And welcome, thrice welcome, to hill and to dale,
Attune now your notes to their softest inflections,
And load with your music the soul-wooing gale;
And swell now your throats
With those love breathing notes
That drive awy sadness and sorrow's low wail.
May 6, 1864. The Abingdon Virginian 25(4): 4.