May has come: — the woods are ringing;
Clearer sounds the hunter's horn;
Birds in every brake are singing;
Yellow-green the springing corn.

May has come: — in field and meadow
Starry bloom the virgin flowers;
Broad the maple flings its shadow;
Snowy white the elder bowers.

Green the slope of yonder mountain,
Mellowed to a golden glow;
Under feathery birch, the fountain
Sparkles in its gurgling flow.

Orchards redden, — crimson blushes
Tremble o'er the apple-boughs;
There her young the robin hushes,
Still beside her trilling spouse.

Joy, on glittering pinions driven,
Gayly flits around, above;
Glancing, kindles earth and heaven; —
All is life and light and love.


" Take this garland for thy golden hair, " —
So I spake unto a maiden fair,
Maid with eyes of love, like heaven's own blue,
Thinnest veil of cloud soft shining through; —
" Take this garland, — 't is of earliest bloom,
Newly plucked, and filled with fresh perfume.
Had I jewel rare, and precious stone,
Gems of Ind, O, they were thine alone;
Costliest gift for thee were all too poor; —
Take this garland, — I can give no more.
Fairer flowers than these indeed I know;
On the lonely heath afar they blow:
There the violet peeps beside the spring,
Coyly peeps, as loving linnets sing; —
Go with me, and we will gather there
Fairer, sweeter flowers to wreathe thy hair. "
Bashfully the maid the garland took;
Like rewarded child, she blushed and shook:
Clearest red her cheek, as when the rose,
Dewy sheen, behind the lily blows.
Low she bowed, and love-looks sparkled clear,
Under silken lashes, through a tear:
That was my reward; — O, there was one,
Holier far, my lips shall breathe to none.


Under the willow, in a meadow,
Where the brook was running clear,
There was my pillow, dark in shadow,
Blossom and verdure springing near.
'Fore the wood, and in a dale,
Lovely sang the nightingale.

Silent reclining the willow under,
Just as evening faded away,
Sweetly shining, a heavenly wonder
Bent over me, as there I lay:
Light her form; her face was pale; —
Lovely sang the nightingale.

Nymph of fountain, in dewy brightness
Rising from wave in vest of green;
Dryad of mountain, with airy lightness
Flitting around the huntress queen; —
All to that heavenly form must veil,
Smiling as sang the nightingale.

Then she addressed me, — " O, why dost linger
Here in a world that chains thy will? "
Softly she pressed me with snowy finger;
Pulse and beating heart were still.
Lovely sang, in the lonely dale,
Fainter and fainter, the nightingale.
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