Shepherd's Calendar, The - April


Now infant April joins the Spring,
And views the watery sky,
As youngling linnet tries its wing,
And fears at first to fly;
With timid step she ventures on,
And hardly dares to smile,
Till blossoms open one by one,
And sunny hours beguile.


But finer days are coming yet,
With scenes more sweet to charm,
And suns arrive that rise and set
Bright strangers to a storm:
Then, as the birds with louder song
Each morning's glory cheer,
With bolder step she speeds along,
And loses all her fear.


In wanton gambols, like a child,
She tends her early toils,
And seeks the buds along the wild,
That blossoms while she smiles;
Or, laughing on, with nought to chide,
She races with the Hours,
Or sports by Nature's lovely side,
And fills her lap with flowers.


The shepherd on his pasture walks
The first fair cowslip finds,
Whose tufted flowers, on slender stalks,
Keep nodding to the winds.
And though the thorns withhold the May,
Their shades the violets bring,
Which children stoop for in their play
As tokens of the Spring.


Those joys which childhood calls its own,
Would they were kin to men!
Those treasures to the world unknown,
When known, are wither'd then!
But hovering round our growing years,
To gild Care's sable shroud,
Their spirit through the gloom appears
As suns behind a cloud.


Since thou didst meet my infant eyes,
As through the fields I flew,
Whose distance, where they meet the skies,
Was all the world I knew;
That warmth of Fancy's wildest hours,
Which fill'd all things with life,
Which heard a voice in trees and flowers,
Has swoon'd in Reason's strife.


Sweet Month! thy pleasures bid thee be
The fairest child of Spring;
And every hour, that comes with thee,
Comes some new joy to bring:
The trees still deepen in their bloom,
Grass greens the meadow-lands,
And flowers with every morning come,
As dropt by fairy hands.


The field and garden's lovely hours
Begin and end with thee;
For what's so sweet, as peeping flowers
And bursting buds to see,
What time the dew's unsullied drops,
In burnish'd gold, distil
On crocus flowers' unclosing tops,
And drooping daffodil?


To see thee come, all hearts rejoice;
And, warm with feelings strong,
With thee all Nature finds a voice,
And hums a waking song.
The lover views thy welcome hours,
And thinks of summer come,
And takes the maid thy early flowers,
To tempt her steps from home.


Along each hedge and sprouting bush
The singing birds are blest,
And linnet green and speckled thrush
Prepare their mossy nest;
On the warm bed thy plains supply,
The young lambs find repose,
And 'mid thy green hills basking lie
Like spots of ling'ring snows.


Thy open'd leaves and ripen'd buds
The cuckoo makes his choice,
And shepherds in thy greening woods
First hear his cheering voice:
And to thy ripen'd blooming bowers
The nightingale belongs;
And, singing to thy parting hours,
Keeps night awake with songs!


With thee the swallow dares to come,
And cool his sultry wing;
And, urged to seek his yearly home,
Thy suns the martin bring.
O! lovely Month! be leisure mine
Thy yearly mate to be;
Though May-day scenes may brighter shine,
Their birth belongs to thee.


I waked me with thy rising sun,
And thy first glories viewed,
And, as thy welcome hours begun,
Their sunny steps pursued.
And now thy sun is on thee set,
Like to a lovely eve,
I view thy parting with regret,
And linger loath to leave. —


Though at her birth the northern gale
Come with its withering sigh;
And hopeful blossoms, turning pale,
Upon her bosom die;
Ere April seeks another place,
And ends her reign in this,
She leaves us with as fair a face
As e'er gave birth to bliss!
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