Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Thirty-first of May

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Frederick Tennyson b. 1807

Thirty-first of May

AWAKE!—the crimson dawn is glowing,

And blissful breath of Morn

From golden seas is earthward flowing

Thro’ mountain-peaks forlorn;

’Twixt the tall roses, and the jasmines near,

That darkly hover in the twilight air,

I see the glory streaming, and I hear

The sweet wind whispering like a messenger.

’T is time to sing!—the Spirits of Spring

Go softly by mine ear,

And out of Fairyland they bring

Glad tidings to me here;

’T is time to sing! now is the pride of Youth

Pluming the woods, and the first rose appears,

And Summer from the chambers of the South

Is coming up to wipe away all tears.

They bring glad tidings from afar

Of Her that cometh after

To fill the earth, to light the air,

With music and with laughter;

Ev’n now she leaneth forward, as she stands,

And her fire-wing’d horses, shod with gold,

Stream, like a sunrise, from before her hands,

And thro’ the Eastern gates her wheels are roll’d.

’T is time to sing—the woodlands ring

New carols day by day;

The wild birds of the islands sing

Whence they have flown away;

’T is time to sing: the nightingale is come,

And ’mid the laurels chants he all night long,

And bids the leaves be still, the winds be dumb,

And like the starlight flashes forth his song.

Immortal Beauty from above,

Like sunlight breath’d on cloud,

Touches the weary soul with love,

And hath unwound the shroud

Of buried Nature till she looks again

Fresh in infantine smiles and childish tears,

And o’er the rugged hearts of aged men

Sheds the pure dew of Youth’s delicious years.

The heart of the awaken’d Earth

Breathes odorous ecstasy;

Let ours beat time unto her mirth,

And hymn her jubilee!

The glory of the Universal Soul

Ascends from mountain-tops, and lowly flowers,

The mighty pulses throbbing through the Whole

Call unto us for answering life in ours.

Arise! young Queen of forests green,

A path was strewn for thee

With hyacinth, and gold bells atween,

And red anemone;

Arise! young Queen of beauty and delight,

Lift up in this fair land thine happy eyes;

The valleys yearn, and gardens for thy sight,

But chief this heart that prays for thee with sighs.

How oft into the opening blue

I look’d up wistfully,

In hope to see thee wafted thro’

Bright rifts of stormy sky;

Many gray morns, sad nights, and weary days,

Without thy golden smile my heart was dying;

Oh! in the valleys let me see thy face,

And thy loose locks adown the wood-walks flying.

Come, with thy flowers, and silver showers,

Thy rainbows, and thy light;

Fold in thy robe the naked Hours,

And fill them with thy might;

Though less I seek thee for the loveliness

Thou laughest from thee over land and sea,

Than for the hues wherein gay Fancies dress

My drooping spirit at the sight of thee.

Come, with thy voice of thousand joys,

Thy leaves, and fluttering wings;

Come with thy breezes, and the noise

Of rivulets and of springs;

Though less I seek thee for thine harmonies

Of winds and waters, and thy songs divine,

Than for that Angel that within me lies,

And makes glad music echoing unto thine.

O Gardens blossoming anew!

O Rivers, and fresh Rills!

O Mountains in your mantles blue!

O dales of daffodils!

What ye can do no mortal spirit can,

Ye have a strength within we cannot borrow,

Blessed are ye beyond the heart of Man,

Your Joy, your Love, your Life beyond all Sorrow!