Songs of the Common Day, and Ave!

An Ode for the Shelley Centenary

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

THE SILVER THAW


 

THERE came a day of showers
     Upon the shrinking snow;
The south wind sighed of flowers,
     The softening skies hung low.
Midwinter for a space
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Foreshadowing April's face,
The white world caught the fancy,
     And would not let it go.

In reawakened courses
     The brooks rejoiced the land;

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We dreamed the Spring's shy forces
     Were gathering close at hand.
The dripping buds were stirred,
As if the sap had heard
The long-desired persuasion
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     Of April's soft command.

But antic Time had cheated
     With hope's elusive gleam;
The phantom Spring, defeated,
     Fled down the ways of dream.

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And in the night the reign
Of winter came again,
With frost upon the forest
     And stillness on the stream.

When morn in rose and crocus

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     Came up the bitter sky,
Celestial beams awoke us
     To wondering ecstasy.
The wizard Winter's spell
Had wrought so passing well,
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That earth was bathed in glory,
     As if God's smile were nigh.

The silvered saplings, bending,
     Flashed in a rain of gems;
The statelier trees, attending,

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     Blazed in their diadems.
White fire and amethyst
All common things had kissed,
And chrysolites and sapphires
     Adorned the bramble-stems.
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In crystalline confusion
     All beauty came to birth;
It was a kind illusion
     To comfort waiting earth—
To bid the buds forget
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The Spring so distant yet,
And hearts no more remember
     The iron season's dearth.