Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A GIFT OF SPRING, by GEORGE BARLOW (1847-1913)

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A GIFT OF SPRING, by                    
First Line: For all thy youth given up to me so worn and weary
Last Line: While round my head the golden midday burns.
Subject(s): Hearts; Love; Youth


For all thy youth given up to me so worn and weary,
For thy soft days of Spring given up to Winter dreary,
What shall I, love, return?
What do the black pines give to the roses in the thicket?
What doth the searcher say as swift he stoops to pick it
To the first budding fern?


Thou art so young and sweet,—and all is still before thee:
The whole long summer day's unbroken blue beams o'er thee;
But as for me, for me,
My summer days are far behind yon range of mountains;
Ages on ages since I drank the dawn's fresh fountains,
But now I drink the sorrowful salt sea.


Thou might'st have had so much,—and I can give so little!
Just a stray song or two to spread soft wings and settle
Within thy braided hair:
Young was I never, and now I am the dark grave's suitor;
Least fitted of all bards to be sweet Beauty's tutor;
And thou,—thou art so fair.


And dost thou care for me,—and wilt thou swiftly follow
My steps from dreary mount to drearier murky hollow
Just out of love for me?
Why thou might'st, with that face, have all the world in bondage!
Wilt thou, the daughter of Spring, bind thy bright brow with frondage
Autumnal, such as I can give to thee!


The laughter of the Spring is in thine eyes, and round thee!
The crocus-spirit I found, O true love, when I found thee,—
And all the daffodils
Flash forth for thee along the meadows, and the thrushes
Sing out for thee among the newly blossomed bushes
And newly robed green hills.


And I will never take thy flower-help without saying
How in mine elder years I went one morn a-Maying
(To gather thorns, I thought!)
And found thee,—sweeter than the bloom of all the May-trees
And whiter than flower-clouds upon the gayest of gay trees;
Found thee, so far beyond the gifts I sought.


If I can give thee little, yet what I have I bring thee.
Thou hast given me honey of love,—and I, I can but sing thee;
Yet sing I must and may.
Thou hast made the face of Spring in late and dark September
Smile: thou hast made a flame leap up from a grey ember:
Thou hast gilded a dark day.


The azure of thy youth,—this thou hast taken and brought me;
With thine own bloom within thy sweet hands thou hast sought me;
My youth again returns:
Again I stand knee-high in clover and wild grasses
And drink deep in my lungs the sea-wind as it passes,
While round my head the golden midday burns.

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