Mary Botham Howitt (1799-1888 / England)
Oh! fragrant dwellers of the lea,
When first the wild wood rings
With each sound of vernal minstrelsy,
When fresh the green grass springs!
What can the blessed spring restore,
More gladd'ning than your charms?
Bringing the memory once more
Of lovely fields and farms!
Of thickets, breezes, birds, and flowers;
Of life's unfolding prime;
Of thoughts as cloudless as the hours;
Of souls without a crime.
Oh! blessed, blessed do ye seem,
For even now, I turn'd,
With soul athirst for wood and stream,
From streets that glared and burn'd.
From the hot town, where mortal care
His crowded fold doth pen;
Where stagnates the polluted air
In many a sultry den.
And are ye here? and are ye here?
Drinking the dew like wine,
Midst living gales and waters clear,
And heaven's unstinted shine.
I care not that your little life
Will quickly have run through,
And the sward with summer children rife
Keep not a trace of you.
For again, again, on dewy plain,
I trust to see you rise,
When spring renews the wild wood strain,
And bluer gleam the skies.
Again, again, when many springs
Upon my grave shall shine,
Here shall you speak of vanish'd things,
To living hearts of mine.
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