To Frances On Her Birthday Poem by Thomas Buchanan Read

To Frances On Her Birthday

Out of the white, beleaguering lines,
Passing the pickets, beyond the pines,
The herald March comes blustering down,
Proclaiming the news o’er field and town,
That Winter, the stubborn, invading foe,
Is hurriedly striking his tents of snow,
Raising a siege which may cost his crown.

A wonderful herald is this same March,
With gusty robes and flashing hair!
How boldly, under the springtime arch,
He wakes the world with martial air!
And, while his winding clarion rings,
What a list of natal days he brings!

Just a score of suns and three,
On a beautiful isle in Manhattan bay,
He blew to the four winds, far and free,
And the southern birds came up straightway.
And the earliest flowers peered forth to see,
And the brooks threw by their icy chains,
Gazing abroad for April rains.
And the buds looked out on every spray,
And the soft south breeze came near to say
Some flattering message it brought from May.

All Nature, thrilling through and through,
Pulsed and glowed with a pleasure new,
As if aware that the wild March horn
Announced the hour that you were born!
—Aware that God’s benignant smile,
Gladdening the laud from shore to shore,
Had fallen in grace on the lovely isle,
Giving the flowers one lily more!
Giving the brooks a sister-tongue—
A lovely mate to all sweet things—
The dove and the wren, beside the door,
While over the place the soft air sung,
“For me another blue-bird sings!'

And, catching a gleam of the light, which shed
A household sunshine o’er your birth,
The angels of heaven looked round and said,
“One of our sisters has gone to earth!'

And every time the loud month rings
His third and twentieth clarion clear,
They whisper, in groups, with folded wings,
“This is the morn she left us here!”
Then circles the song in airier play,
Cheering the high ancestral dome,
“This is the beautiful blossoming day,
That brings her one year nearer home!”
But yet so glad are the groups to know
That something of heaven to earth is won,
That while they guard your path below,
They patiently wait your mission done.

Then let the loud month blow at will,
And Winter strike his tents anew;
May many a springtime find you still
On earth—for it hath need of you!

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