(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

Summer Gone

SMALL wren, mute pecking at the last red plum
Or twittering idly at the yellowing boughs
Fruit-emptied, over thy forsaken house,--
Birdie, that seems to come
Telling, we too have spent our little store,
Our summer's o'er:

Poor robin, driven in by rain-storms wild
To lie submissive under household hands
With beating heart that no love understands,
And scarèd eye, like a child
Who only knows that he is all alone
And summer's gone;

Pale leaves, sent flying wide, a frightened flock
On which the wolfish wind bursts out, and tears
Those tender forms that lived in summer airs
Till, taken at this shock,
They, like weak hearts when sudden grief sweeps by,
Whirl, drop, and die:--

All these things, earthy, of the earth--do tell
This earth's perpetual story; we belong
Unto another country, and our song
Shall be no mortal knell;
Though all the year's tale, as our years run fast,
Mourns, 'summer's past.'

O love immortal, O perpetual youth,
Whether in budding nooks it sits and sings
As hundred poets in a hundred springs,
Or, slaking passion's drouth,
In wine-press of affliction, ever goes
Heavenward, through woes:

O youth immortal--O undying love!
With these by winter fireside we'll sit down
Wearing our snows of honor like a crown;
And sing as in a grove,
Where the full nests ring out with happy cheer,
'Summer is here.'

Roll round, strange years; swift seasons, come and go;
Ye leave upon us but an outward sign;
Ye cannot touch the inward and divine,
While God alone does know;
There sealed till summers, winters, all shall cease
In His deep peace.

Therefore uprouse ye winds and howl your will;
Beat, beat, ye sobbing rains on pane and door;
Enter, slow-footed age, and thou, obscure,
Grand Angel--not of ill;
Healer of every wound, where'er thou come,
Glad, we'll go home.

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