THE MANY-MANSIONED HOUSE
AND OTHER POEMS


By
EDWARD WILLIAM THOMSON




 

THE CANADIAN ROSSIGNOL

(IN JUNE)



     PRONE where maples widely spread
     I watch the far blue overhead,
     Where little pillowy clouds arise
     From naught to die before my eyes;
     Within the shade a pleasant rout

5

     Of dallying zephyrs steal about;
     Lazily as moves the day
     Odors float and faint away
     From roses yellow, red, and white,
     That prank yon garden with delight;

10

     Round which the locust blossoms swing,
     And some late lilacs droop for spring.
Anon swells up a dubious breeze,
Stirring the half-reluctant trees,
Then, rising to a mimic gale,

15

Ruffles the massy oaks to pale,
Till spent its sudden force, once more
The zephyrs come that went before;
Now silvery poplars shivering stand,
And languid lindens waver bland,

20

Hemlock traceries scarcely stir,
All the pines of summer purr.
Hovering butterflies I see,
Full of business shoots the bee,
Straight from the valley is his flight

25

Where crowding marbles solemn white
Show through the trees and mutely tell
How there the low-laid loved rest well.
Half hid in the grasses there
Red breast thrushes jump and stare,

30

Sparrows flutter up like leaves
Tossed upon the wind in sheaves,
Curve-winged swallows slant and slide [Page 95]
O’er the graves that stretch so wide,
Steady crows go laboring by—

35

Ha! the Rossignol is nigh!

Rossignol, why will you sing,
Though lost the lovely world of spring?
’T was well that then your roulades rang
Of joy, despite of every pang;

40

But now the sweet, the bliss is gone—
       Nay, now the summer joy is on,  
       And lo, the foliage and the bloom,
       The fuller life, the bluer room,
       ’T was this the sweet spring promised me.

45

Oh, bird, and can you sing so free,
Though never yet the roaming wind
Could leave earth’s countless graves behind?
And will you sing when summer goes
And leaves turn brown and dies the rose?

50

       Oh, then how brave shall Autumn dress
       The maple out with gorgeousness!
       The red-cheeked apples deck the green,
       And corn wave tall its yellow sheen.
But, bird, bethink you well, I pray,

55

Then marches winter on his way.
       Ah, winter—yes, ah yes—but still,
       Hark! sweetly chimes the summer rill,
       And joy is here and life is strong,
       And love still calls upon my song.

60

No, Rossignol, sing not that strain,
Triumphant ’spite of all the pain,—
She cannot hear you, Rossignol,
She does not pause and flush, your thrall,
She does not raise that slender hand

65

And, poised, lips parted, understand
What you are telling of the years,
Her brown eyes soft with happy tears,
She does not hear a note of all,
Ah, Rossignol, ah, Rossignol! [Page 96]

70

       But skies are blue, and flowers bloom,
       And roses breathe the old perfume,
       And here the murmuring of the trees
       In all of lovelier mysteries—
And maybe now she hears thy song

75

Pouring the summer rills along,
Listens with joy that still to me
Remain the summer time and thee. [Page 97]