Now the frog, all lean and weak,
Yawning from his famished sleep,
Water in the ditch doth seek,
Fast as he can stretch and leap:
Marshy king-cups burning near
Tell him 'tis the sweet o' the year.
Now the ant works up his mound
In the mouldered piny soil,
And above the busy ground
Takes the joy of earnest toil:
Dropping pine-cones, dry and sere,
Warn him 'tis the sweet o' the year.
Now the chrysalis on the wall
Cracks, and out the creature springs,
Raptures in his body small,
Wonders on his dusty wings:
Bells and cups, all shining clear,
Show him 'tis the sweet o' the year.
Now the brown bee, wild and wise,
Hums abroad, and roves and roams,
Storing in his wealthy thighs
Treasure for the golden combs:
Dewy buds and blossoms dear
Whisper 'tis the sweet o' the year.
Now the merry maids so fair
Weave the wreaths and choose the queen,
Blooming in the open air,
Like fresh flowers upon the green;
Spring, in every thought sincere,
Thrills them with the sweet o' the year.
Now the lads, all quick and gay,
Whistle to the browsing herds,
Or in the twilight pastures grey
Learn the use of whispered words:
First a blush, and then a tear,
And then a smile, i' the sweet o' the year.
Now the May-fly and the fish
Play again from noon to night;
Every breeze begets a wish,
Every motion means delight:
Heaven high over heath and mere
Crowns with blue the sweet o' the year.
Now all Nature is alive,
Bird and beetle, man and mole;
Bee-like goes the human hive,
Lark-like sings the soaring soul:
Hearty faith and honest cheer
Welcome in the sweet o' the year.