Lyrics of Earth

by Archibald Lampman


 

 

JUNE


 

Long, long ago, it seems, this summer morn
    That pale-browed April passed with pensive tread
    Through the frore woods, and from its frost-bound bed
Woke the arbutus with her silver horn;
    And now May, too, is fled,                                                                5
The flower-crowned month, the merry laughing May,
    With rosy feet and fingers dewy wet,
Leaving the woods and all cool gardens gay
    With tulips and the scented violet.

Gone are the wind-flower and the adder-tongue                            10
    And the sad drooping bellwort, and no more
    The snowy trilliums crowd the forest’s floor;
The purpling grasses are no longer young,
       And summer’s wide-set door
O’er the thronged hills and the broad panting earth                      15
    Lets in the torrent of the later bloom,
Haytime, and harvest, and the after mirth,
    The slow soft rain, the rushing thunder plume.

All day in garden alleys moist and dim,
    The humid air is burdened with the rose;                                    20
    In moss-deep woods the creamy orchid blows;
And now the vesper-sparrows’ pealing hymn
       From every orchard close
At eve comes flooding rich and silvery;
    The daisies in great meadows swing and shine;                       25
And with the wind a sound as of the sea
    Roars in the maples and the topmost pine.

High in the hills the solitary thrush
    Tunes magically his music of fine dreams,
    In briary dells, by boulder-broken streams;                                 30
And wide and far on nebulous fields aflush
       The mellow morning gleams.
The orange cone-flowers purple-bossed are there,
    The meadow’s bold-eyed gypsies deep of hue,
And slender hawkweed tall and softly fair,                                      35
    And rosy tops of fleabane veiled with dew.

So with thronged voices and unhasting flight
    The fervid hours with long return go by;
    The far-heard hylas piping shrill and high
Tell the slow moments of the solemn night                                      40
       With unremitting cry;
Lustrous and large out of the gathering drouth
    The planets gleam; the baleful Scorpion
Trails his dim fires along the droused south;
    The silent world-incrusted round moves on.                                45

And all the dim night long the moon’s white beams
    Nestle deep down in every brooding tree,
    And sleeping birds, touched with a silly glee,
Waken at midnight from their blissful dreams,
       And carol brokenly.                                                                     50

Dim surging motions and uneasy dreads
    Scare the light slumber from men’s busy eyes,
And parted lovers on their restless beds
    Toss and yearn out, and cannot sleep for sighs.

Oft have I striven, sweet month, to figure thee,                               55
    As dreamers of old time were wont to feign,
    In living form of flesh, and striven in vain;
Yet when some sudden old-world mystery
       Of passion fired my brain,
Thy shape hath flashed upon me like no dream,                           60
    Wandering with scented curls that heaped the breeze,
Or by the hollow of some reeded stream
    Sitting waist-deep in white anemones;

And even as I glimpsed thee thou wert gone,
    A dream for mortal eyes too proudly coy,                                  65
    Yet in thy place for subtle thought’s employ
The golden magic clung, a light that shone
       And filled me with thy joy.
Before me like a mist that streamed and fell
    All names and shaped of antique beauty passed                    70
In garlanded procession with the swell
    Of flutes between the beechen stems; and last,

I saw the Arcadian valley, the loved wood,
    Alpheus stream divine, the sighing shore,
    And through the cool green glades, awake once more,          75
Psyche, the white-limbed goddess, still pursued,
    Fleet-footed as of yore,
The noonday ringing with her frighted peals,
    Down the bright sward and through the reeds she ran,
Urged by the mountain echoes, at her heels                                80
    The hot-blown cheeks and trampling feet of Pan.