Kate Seymour Maclean

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Dimly and dumbly under the ground,
Groping the walls of their prison round,
The roots of the aged and garrulous trees
Are sending electrical messages
From the under-world to the world without
And quickening pulses that course in each
Fettered and bound and frozen thing,
Rootlets that tremble, and fibres that reach
Are pushing inanimate fingers out,
To ask further inarticulate speech
For tidings of Spring

And the fine invisible sprite which dwells
In cups and discs, in blossoms and bells,
Fleeter than Ariel's wing hath flown
Beyond this cloudy and frozen zone,
To the summer land of the South,
Beyond those rugged sentinels
Which winter seta in the snow-capped hills,
From the breath of whose cruel mouth,
Sighing, the leaves in forest and wold,
Shivered and died in the nights a'cold,
Died and were buried under the snow,
Long moons ago.

Now over the tropic's broad ellipse
The sprite hath passed, as fleet and fast
As the light of falling stars, that cast
A sudden radiance and eclipse;
And all the buds that are folded close
As the inner leaves of an unblown rose,
In bulb, or cone, or scale, or sheath,
And sealed with the odorous gums that breathe
Like the breath of the singing and sighing pine,
When the dews are falling at evening time,
Through cone, and sheath, and bulb, and scale--
Tremble, and cry All hail!

And look where a rosier beam hath cleft
The damp and fragrant-smelling earth,
A handful of snow-drops peeping forth;
As if King Winter had dropped and left--
Stumbling and tripping the steep hills down--
Had clutched his robe and dropped his crown:
Or as if the very snow had power,
Out of itself to fashion a flower;
So vase-like, slender, and exquisite,
Like an alabaster lamp alit,--

And shining with a sea-green light,
As if it had but newly come
Up from some subterranean palace,
The haunt of fairy or of gnome,
With its waxen taper still alight,
And beaming in its leafy chalice,
That lit the revellers down below,
When the nights were long, and the moon was low
You might have heard, far-off and sweet,
The sound of the elfin revelries,
Like a bugle strain blown over seas,
And the patter and beat of dancing feet,--
If you had been like me awake,
What time the Great Bear seems to shake,
Down through the trackless realms of air,
Frost-lances from his shaggy hair;
And all around--beneath--across,
The round globe lies stabbed through with frost.

Now the touches of the sun,
Like some potent alchemist,
In heat and dews, in rain and mist,
As in a subtle menstruum,
Hath dissolved the icy charm,
And laid on that cold breast of hers,--
Nature's breast--that faintly stirs,
With his fragrant kisses warm,
Sweet as myrrh and cinnamon,--
Snow-drops, spring's bright harbingers,
First-born children of the sun.

Like a sudden burst of leaf and bloom,
The sun shines redly through the gloom,
And the wind with its many melodies
Hath a murmurous sound like the noise of bees,
Singing and humming,--blowing and growing,
Of springing blade, and of fountain flowing;
And night and silence under the ground
Listen--and thrill--and move to the sound,
And answer, Spring is coming!

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