Eos: An Epic of the Dawn, and Other Poems

By Nicholas Flood Davin


 

THE CANADIAN YEAR.


 

    The depths of infinite shade,
    The soft green dusk of the glade,
  With fiery fingers the frost had fret,
    And dyed a myriad hue,
  Making the forests temples of golden aisles:
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        The swooning rose forgot to bloom;
    In fragrant graves slept violets blue;
    And earlier shook her locks of jet
    Night, with her subtle shadowy wiles,
        Night, with her starry gloom,—
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  Before like suns which could not set,
    Your eyes shone clear on mine,
  Flushing the heart with feelings high,
  Touching all like as thrills the sky,
When over cloudy pavements thunders rumble and roll;
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    Then flamed the faltering blood like wine,
        And overflowed the soul.

  Through wintery weeks, the sun above
    Oceaned in blue, the frost below;
  Through blustry hours, when fiercely drove
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    Winds razor-armed the drifting snow,
  And peeled the face and pinched the ear,
  And hurled the avalanche of fear
  From roof-tops on the mufflered crowd;
    The air one blinding cloud;
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  Through many a brisk and bracing day, [Page 71]
    The sky wide summer as in June,
    The joyous sleighbells ringing tune
  More blithe than aught musicians play;
    The pure snow gleaming white;
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  Men’s eyes fulfilled of finer light,
  Of finer tints the women’s hair;
    Their cheeks aglow, and full and pink;
    The skaters sweeping through the rink,
  Like swallows through the air:
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  We talked, and walked, and laughed and dreamed,
    And now snow-wreaths, auroral rays,
    The winter moon, day’s blinding blaze,
    The merry bells, the skaters’ grace
    Recall thy laugh, recall thy face,
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  As dazzling as it earliest beamed!

Love stirred in the frozen branches,
    And straight the world was crown’d with green,
And as a shipwright his trim craft launches,
Each bud put forth in a night its might,
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    And the trees stood proud in summer sheen,
    Their foliage dense, a grateful screen
’Gainst the bold bright heat and the full fierce light.
Like cathedral windows the gardens glowed,
    Mirrors of light the broad lakes gleamed,
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His cunning in song the robin showed,
    And the shore-lark swung on a branch and dreamed;
And boats were gliding, lover-laden,
    Over lakes and streams that will yet be known,
The boy in flannel, the blooming maiden
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    In muslin white with a ribbon zone. [Page 72]

The chestnuts fell. From their dull green sheaths
    With satin-white linings, the nuts burst free;
And as sun-down came, bright hazy wreaths
    The spirit of eve hung from tree to tree.
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The weeks rolled on, the lush green fields
    Became billowy breadths of golden grain,
And all the roots and fruits the kind earth yields
    Were piled on the labouring wain—
But you were by the cliff-barred white-crested sea,
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    And I where the delicate pink of the prairie rose
        Amid rich coarse grasses hides,
Where the sunset’s a boisterous pageantry,
    And the mornings the tenderest tints disclose,
    Where far from the shade and shelter of wood,
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    The prairie hen rears her speckled brood,
        And the prairie wolf abides,
And lonely memory searching through
    Found no such stars in the orbèd past,
As the glad first greeting ’twixt me and you,
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    And the sad, mad meeting which was our last. [Page 73]