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May is come, and May is flying;
Spring is here, and Spring is dying;
Shout a welcome, frank and flowing;
Say Farewell! for she is going.

'Tis the hour when life is deepest;
'Tis the time when most thou weepest;
'Tis the day when flowers in numbers
Strew the sainted in their slumbers.

Buds are breaking; love is waking;
Time our very breath is taking.
We are jocund; we are drooping;
Summer comes, for Spring is stooping.

Love her! bless her! as she goeth,
Ere the grass the mower moweth;
Ere the cowslip hath departed,
Kiss sweet May, all tearful-hearted.

For she goes to all the perished;
Goes to all the dearly cherished;
Sails the sea, and climbs the mountain,
Seeking Spring's eternal fountain.

May is come, and May is flying;
Spring is here, and Spring is dying;
Shout a welcome, frank and flowing;
Say Farewell! for she is going.

William Howitt.

Tes, truly before this sweet May is flown, let us batlie our hearts in delicious May sunshine; let us bind up a fragrant garland from the poets; let us listen to the chorus of human and feathered minstrels.

And first to the Laureate.

MAY QUEEN,.

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;

To-morrow'll be the happiest time of all the glad new year;

Of all the glad new year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;

For I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May.

*****

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green.

And you'll be there too, mother, to see me made the queen;

For the shepherd lads on every side'll come from far away,

And I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May

The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its many bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the mild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows
gray,

And I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day,
And I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May.

All the valley, mother,'U be fresh, and green, and still,

And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,

And the rivulet in the flowery dale'll merrily glance and play,

For I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow'll be the happiest time of all the glad new year:
To-morrow'll be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May.

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SONGS OF FLOWEES.

203

FLOWERS.

Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,

When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.

Stars they are, wherein we read our history,

As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery

Like the burning stars which they beheld.

Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above;

But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love.

Bright and glorious is that revelation

Written all over this great world of ours;

Making evident our own creation,

In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.

And the poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees alike in stars and flowers, a part

Of the self-same, universal being,

Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.

Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,

Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds which open only to decay;

Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,

Flaunting gaily in the golden light, Large desires, with most uncertain issues,

Tender wishes, blossoming at night!

Theses in flowers and men are more than seeming;

Workings are they of the selfsame powers, Which the poet in no idle dreaming,

Seeth in himself and in the flowers.

Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us spring is born;

Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;

Not alone in Spring's armorial bearings,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field,

But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;

Not alone in meadows and green alleys,

On the mountain-top and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,

Where the slave of Nature stoops to drink.

Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of birds and beasts alone,

But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;

In the cottage of the rudest peasant,

In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers,

Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers.

In all places, then, and in all seasons,

Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,

Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.

And with childlike credulous affection,

We behold their tender buds expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection,

Emblems of the bright and better land.

LONOFELLOW,

A DREAM OF MAY FLOWERS.

I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way,
Bare winter suddenly was changed to spring,

And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring

Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling

Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,

But kissed it and then fled, as thou mightest in a dream.

There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth,

The constellated flower that never sets;

Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth

The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets Its mother's face with heaven-collected tears,

When the low wind its playmate's voice it hears.

SOSGS OF FLOWEBS.

205

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,

Green cow-bind, and the moonlight-coloured May,

And cherry-blossoms, and white-cups, whose wine
Was the bright dew yet drained not by the day;

And wild rose, and ivy serpentine,

With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;

And flowers azure, black and streaked with gold,

Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

And nearer to the river's trembling edge

There grew broad flag-flowers, purple, prankt with white, And starry river-buds among the sedge;

And floating water-lilies, broad and bright, Which let the oak that overhung the hedge

With moonlight beams of their own watery light;

As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

God might have bade the earth bring forth

Enough for great and small;
The oak-tree, and the cedar-tree,

Without a flower at all.

He might have made enough, enough,

For every want of ours,
For luxury, medicine, and toil,

And yet have made no flowers.

The ore within the mountain-mine

Eequireth none to grow;
Nor doth it need the lotus-flower

To make the river flow.

The clouds might give abundant rain,

The nightly dews might fall;
And the herb that keepeth life in man

Might yet have drunk them all.

Then wherefore, wherefore were they made,

All dyed with rainbow-light,
All fashioned with supremest grace,

Upspringing day and night.

[graphic]

Percy Bysshe Shelley.

FLOWERS.

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