The Years Progress

I look along the dusty dreary way,
So lately strew'd with blossoms fresh and gay,—
The sweet procession of the year is past,
And wither'd whirling leaves run rattling fast,
Like throngs of tatter'd beggars following
Where late went by the pageant of a king.

First came the forward darlings of the Spring,
Snowdrops, and violets, and daisies white,
And hanging cowslips, and each fragrant thing
Whose waking wakes the season of delight,—
The year's faint smiles before its burst of mirth,
The soft sweet breathing babies of the earth,
Close to her warm brown bosom nestling in,
That the wild winds take laughing by the chin;
Then flush'd the silver glory of the May,
And like a bride the Spring was led away.

Summer's lithe daughters followed flaunting gay,
Mingling their odours with the new-mown hay,
The rosy eglantine, smooth, silken-cheek'd,
And amber honeysuckle, crimson-streak'd;

Then the prim privet with her ivory bloom,
Like a pale maiden sister, filled their room
With blue-green leaves, and almond bitter breath,
Thrusting her dainty spices up underneath.
Brown thorny arches sprinkled with the rose,
Whiter than chalk that on the wild brier grows,
And the cream-colour'd crumbling elder flower,
Garlanded o'er with starry virgin's bow'r,
Piled the green hedgerows with their heaps of bloom,
And buried the deep lanes in fragrant gloom.

Autumn, with shining berries black and red,
And glossy curl'd clematis bound his head;
Over his russet cloak the wild hops pale
With golden corn and scarlet poppies trail,
And waving down his mane of tawny hair,
Hangs purple poison-flow'r, the Lady Fair.

Of all the lovely train he was the last,
And with him all the pageant bright hath past,
And in its path, scour'd by the whimpering wind,
Gray shapeless Winter shuffles close behind.

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