Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

Farewell To Spring - Poem by Alfred Austin

I saw this morning, with a sudden smart,
Spring preparing to depart.
I know her well and so I told her all my heart.

``Why did you, Spring, your coming so delay,
If, now here, you cannot stay?
You win my love and then unloving pass away.

``We waited, waited, O so long, so long,
Just to hear the ousel's song.
To-morrow 'twill be hushed, to-day that is so strong.

``Day after day, and dawn again on dawn,
Winter's shroud was on the lawn,
So still, so smooth, we thought 'twould never be withdrawn.

`Now that at last your welcome mimic snow
Doth upon the hawthorn blow,
It bides not on the bough, but melts before we know.

``Scarce hath the primrose o'er the sordid mould
Lavished treasure, than behold!
Our wealth of simple joy is robbed of all its gold.

``When to the woods we hie with feet of mirth,
Now the hyacinths have birth,
Swiftly the blue of Heaven fades from the face of earth.

``You with dry gusts and unrelenting wrack
Kept the liquid cuckoo back.
Now, even ere he goes, he turneth hoarse, alack!

``When, in the long warm nights of June,
Nightingales have got their tune,
Their sweet woe dies, and we are beggared of the boon.

``First drops the bloom, then darkens the green leaf;
Everything in life is brief,
Save autumn's deepening gloom and winter's changeless grief.''

Then with a smile thus answered me the Spring:
``To my voice and flight you cling,
For I, before I perch, again am on the wing.

``With you were I the whole year round to stay,
'Twould be you that went away,
Your love made fickle by monotony of May.

``Love cannot live save upon love beyond.
Leaving you, I keep you fond,
Not letting you despair, but making you despond.

`Farewell, and love me still, my lover dear,
Love me till another year,
And you, if you be true, again will find me here.''

Then darker, deeper, waxed the woods; the ground
Flowerless turned and then embrowned;
And less was of sweet scent, and less was of sweet sound.

Mute was the mavis, moulted was the thorn,
Meads were cut, and lambs were shorn,
And I by Spring was left forsaken and forlorn.

Forlorn, forsaken, shall I be until
Primrose peep and throstle shrill,
And in the orchard gleam the outriding daffodil.

Then shall I know that Spring among the trees
Hiding is, and that the breeze
Anew will fling abroad odours and melodies.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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