A Southern Spring Carol Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

A Southern Spring Carol

O SPRING! O Spring! O Southern Spring!
What a triumphant song you sing!
All the valley sings!
Nor only warblers who have wings;
All the peach and almond blossom
Seems young carol from their bosom
In the form of flowers,
Wandering every way
On many a spray,
Rills in the blue day,
Very bird-notes in a spray,
Filling all the valley.
And I deem that, as they dally
In the summer light intense,
In the deep Italian blue,
A subtle spirit influence
May re-enchant them to a dew
Of melody pure-hearted,
Hither and thither parted,
From the bosom of the birds,
From the gaily-feathered herds,
And they would be songs again,
One rich rain!
A peach-petal flutters down,
A white moth hath softly flown,
And we hardly know sweet note
From fair vision as they float.
All the valley sings!
An angel kindles when he dips
The fig's candelabra tips
To chrysolite, while many a vine
Amorously will incline
O'er vistas of a golden trellis,
Where a cool and shadowy well is,
All overgrown with mosses wet
And maiden-hair and violet.
O'er many a shrine
Roses twine!
Light green fountains of the palm
Fall in a blue crystal calm;
Delicate flushing lady tulips
Close their lanceolate dim dew-lips,
Their soft satiny repose
By a light hand flecked with rose;
Golden jonquils, white narcissus,
Whisper softly, 'Come, and kiss us!
Part us not from the sweet brood
Of our companions in the wood!'
Earth's fair features, every one
Instinct with spirit of the sun,
Radiate well-married hues,
Blent with air and ocean blues.
Verily I seem to stand
In a realm of fairyland,
Or I take my dazzled station
In some intense illumination
Of a missal mediæval
Yonder on the hill's upheaval,
Where we hear the convent chime,
Wrought by monk of olden time,
Whom the cloister heard intone,
And many a sun-bleached river stone,
Or the darkling cypress cone.
Cool grey clouds of olive fill
All the foldings of the hill,
While fair dawn-empetalled peaches
Gleam athwart the bloomy reaches
Of quiet harbell-mantled mountain
Gemmed with rivulet or fountain,
Shadowy evening robes, whose hem
Shines with many a water gem:
While rich oranges all golden,
In a darkling foliage holden,
Are a foil to the pale gleaming
Of oval lemon, and the beaming
Ampler cherry trees, one snow
Of blossom in the fading glow!
In pale blue evening,
Ah! the cherry seems to sing,
With a fairy bridal dower!
Pure white chalices of flower,
Pendent in a pale blue sky,
Shadowy blossom with soft eye!
Dimlit amber mysteries
We faint surmise,
Where bees hover,
And a soft moth-lover!
Oh, I would that I might know
The secret of your bridal snow,
Soul of the pure ecstasy
Softly haunting a grey sky
With such a grace
Of spirit-lace!
For it seems a happy ghost
From the seraph host!
Never bride dissolved in love,
Never saint in realms above,
Nor lark on his own music tost,
Hath more joy than this, embossed,
Shadowy, rare,
On pale blue air;
White cloud a-flower,
A very shower
Of still rapture unalloyed,
Too overjoyed
For sound of singing!
All the valley sings!
A clear rivulet is flinging
Warbled songs to the pure air,
Laughing, a young infant fair,
Ruffling softly, swiftly passes
Green-illumined among grasses,
Or red anemone to wander,
Where are violet, germander;
Child pursued in play, to ramble,
After such a sweet preamble,
Among myrtle bowers and bramble.
Green-pennoned canebrakes in the river
All around grey arches quiver;
While westering Apollo dulls
Delvèd loam, and vivid pulse,
A swart red-vestured toiler waters
From rills, who are the river's daughters.
All the valley sings!
And rings, and rings!
Ah! Nature never would have power
To breathe such ecstasy of flower,
Vernal songs of happy birds,
The young rill's delicious words,
No iris hues might bring to birth,
No heart were hers for any mirth,
were turned to common earth!
If a child so fair, so good,
Were a waif on Lethe's flood,
If one soul-source of feeling, seeing,
Were blotted from the realms of being!
She from all delight would start,
With such a horror at her heart,
She would reel dissolved, and faint
With deep dishonour of the taint!
The very girders of her hall
Crushed, her stately floor would fall.
Ourselves are the foundation-stone;
If thought fail, the world is gone;
All were ruined, wanting one.
But all the valley sings!
Nature rises on immortal wings!
And soaring, lo! she sings! she sings!
There is no death!
She saith.
O Spring! O Spring! O Southern Spring!
What a triumphal song you sing!

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