Four Songs Of Four Seasons

I. WINTER IN NORTHUMBERLAND
  OUTSIDE the garden
  The wet skies harden;
  The gates are barred on
  The summer side:
  "Shut out the flower-time,
  Sunbeam and shower-time;
  Make way for our time,"
  Wild winds have cried.
  Green once and cheery,
  The woods, worn weary,
  Sigh as the dreary
  Weak sun goes home:
  A great wind grapples
  The wave, and dapples
The dead green floor of the sea with foam.

  Through fell and moorland,
  And salt-sea foreland,
  Our noisy norland
  Resounds and rings;
  Waste waves thereunder
  Are blown in sunder,
  And winds make thunder
  With cloudwide wings;
  Sea-drift makes dimmer
  The beacon's glimmer;
  Nor sail nor swimmer
  Can try the tides;
  And snowdrifts thicken
  Where, when leaves quicken,
Under the heather the sundew hides.

  Green land and red land,
  Moorside and headland,
  Are white as dead land,
  Are all as one;
  Nor honied heather,
  Nor bells to gather,
  Fair with fair weather
  And faithful sun:
  Fierce frost has eaten
  All flowers that sweeten
  The fells rain-beaten;
  And winds their foes
  Have made the snow's bed
  Down in the rose-bed;
Deep in the snow's bed bury the rose.

  Bury her deeper
  Than any sleeper;
  Sweet dreams will keep her
  All day, all night;
  Though sleep benumb her
  And time o'ercome her,
  She dreams of summer,
  And takes delight,
  Dreaming and sleeping
  In love's good keeping,
  While rain is weeping
  And no leaves cling;
  Winds will come bringing her
  Comfort, and singing her
Stories and songs and good news of the spring.

  Draw the white curtain
  Close, and be certain
  She takes no hurt in
  Her soft low bed;
  She feels no colder,
  And grows not older,
  Though snows enfold her
  From foot to head;
  She turns not chilly
  Like weed and lily
  In marsh or hilly
  High watershed,
  Or green soft island
  In lakes of highland;
She sleeps awhile, and she is not dead.

  For all the hours,
  Come sun, come showers,
  Are friends of flowers,
  And fairies all;
  When frost entrapped her,
  They came and lapped her
  In leaves, and wrapped her
  With shroud and pall;
  In red leaves wound her,
  With dead leaves bound her
  Dead brows, and round her
  A death-knell rang;
  Rang the death-bell for her,
  Sang, "is it well for her,
Well, is it well with you, rose?" they sang.

  O what and where is
  The rose now, fairies,
  So shrill the air is,
  So wild the sky?
  Poor last of roses,
  Her worst of woes is
  The noise she knows is
  The winter's cry;
  His hunting hollo
  Has scared the swallow;
  Fain would she follow
  And fain would fly:
  But wind unsettles
  Her poor last petals;
Had she but wings, and she would not die.

  Come, as you love her,
  Come close and cover
  Her white face over,
  And forth again
  Ere sunset glances
  On foam that dances,
  Through lowering lances
  Of bright white rain;
  And make your playtime
  Of winter's daytime,
  As if the Maytime
  Were here to sing;
  As if the snowballs
  Were soft like blowballs,
Blown in a mist from the stalk in the spring.

  Each reed that grows in
  Our stream is frozen,
  The fields it flows in
  Are hard and black;
  The water-fairy
  Waits wise and wary
  Till time shall vary
  And thaws come back.
  "O sister, water,"
  The wind besought her,
  "O twin-born daughter
  Of spring with me,
  Stay with me, play with me,
  Take the warm way with me,
Straight for the summer and oversea."

  But winds will vary,
  And wise and wary
  The patient fairy
  Of water waits;
  All shrunk and wize
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Algernon Charles Swinburne

Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. more…

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"Four Songs Of Four Seasons" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 2 Jun 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1321/four-songs-of-four-seasons>.

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