Slayer of the winter, art thou here again?
O welcome, thou that bring’st the summer nigh!
The bitter wind makes not thy victory vain,
Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky.
Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dry
Make April ready for the throstle’s song,
Thou first redresser of the winter’s wrong!
Yea, welcome March! and though I die ere June,
Yet for the hope of life I give the praise,
Striving to swell the burden of the tune
That even now I hear thy brown birds raise,
Unmindful of the past or coming days;
Who sing: “O joy! a new year is begun:
What happiness to look upon the sun!”
Ah, what begetteth all this storm of bliss
But Death himself, who crying solemnly,
E’en from the heart of sweet Forgetfulness,
Bids us “Rejoice, lest pleasureless ye die.
Within a little time must ye go by.
Stretch forth your open hands, and while ye live
Take all the gifts that Death and Life may give.”
From The Earthly Paradise (1868-70)