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So forth isseu'd the seasons of the Yeare.'-SPENSER.
Out from tower and from steeple rang
tbe sudden New Year bells, Like the chorusing of genii in aërial citadels; And, as they chimed and echoed overthwart
the gulfs of gloom, Lo! a brilliance burst upon me, and a Masque
went through the room.
First the young New Year came forward, like
a little dancing child ; And his hair was as a glory, and his eyes were
bright and wild; And he shook an odorous torch, and he laughed,
but did not speak, And his smile went softly rippling through the
roses of his cheek.
Round he look'd across his shoulder :--and the
Spirit of the Spring Enterà softly, moved before me, paused and
linger'd on the wing;
And she smiled and wept together with a
dalliance quaint and sweet, And her teardrops changed to flowers under
neath her gliding feet.
Then a landscape open'd outwards; broad
brown woodlands stretch'd away In the luminous blue distance of a windy clear
March day; And at once the branches kindled with a light
of hovering green, And grew vital in the sunshine as the spirit
Birds flash'd about the copses, striking sharp
notes through the air; Danced the lambs within the meadows; crept
the snake from out his lair; Soft as shadow sprang the violets, thousands
seeming but as one; Flamed the crocuses beside them, like the
droppings of the sun.
And the Goddess of the Spring, that Spirit
tender and benign, Squeezed a vapory cloud which vanish'd into
heaven's crystal wine; And she faded in the distance where the
thickening leaves were piled,
And the New Year had grown older, and no
longer was a child.
II. Summer, shaking languid roses from his dew
be-dabbled hair, Summer, in a robe of green, and with his arms
and shoulders bare, Next came forward; and the richness of his
pageants filled the eye, Breadths of English meadows basking under
neath the happy sky. Long grass swaying in the playing of the
almost wearied breeze; Flowers bow'd beneath a crowd of the yellow
armor'd bees; Sumptuous forests fill’d with twilight, like a
dreamy old romance, Rivers falling, rivers calling, in their indolent
Crimson heath-bells making regal all the
solitary places, Dominant light that pierces down into the deep
blue water spaces; Sun uprisings, and sun-settings, and intensities
of noon; Purple darkness of the midnight, and the glory
of the moon.
Rapid rosy-tinted lightnings, where the rocky
clouds are riven, Like the lifting of a veil before the inner courts
of heaven; Silver stars in azure evenings slowly climbing
up the steep, Cornfields ripening to the harvest, and the
wide seas smooth with sleep.
Circled with these living splendors, Summer
pass’d from out my sight; Like a dream that fillid with beauty all the
caverns of the night! And the vision and the presence into empty
nothing ran, And the New Year was still older, and seem'd
now a youthful man.
Autumn ! Forth from glowing orchards stepp'd
he gaily in a gown Of warm russet freaked with gold, and with a vision
sunny On his head a rural chaplet, wreathed with
heavily drooping grapes, And broad shadow casting vine leaves like the
Fruits and berries roll'd, before him from the
year's exhausted horn,
Jets of wine went spinning upwards, and he
held a sheaf of corn : And he laugh’d for very joy, and he danced
from too much pleasure, And he sang old songs of harvest, and he
quaff’d a mighty measure.
But above this wild delight an over-mastering
graveness rose, And the fields and trees seemed thoughtful in
their absolute repose : And I saw the woods consuming in a many
colored death, Streaks of yellow flame, down deepening
through the green that lingereth.
Sanguine flashes, like a sunset, and austerely
shadowing brown: And I heard, within the silence, the nuts
sharply rattling down; And I saw the long dark edges all alight with
scarlet fire, Where the berries, pulpy ripe, had spread
their bird-feasts on the briar.
I beheld the southern vineyards, and the hop
grounds of our land, Sending gusts of fragrance outwards, nearly
to the salt sea strand;