Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SUMMER, by WILLIAM ASPENWALL BRADLEY



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SUMMER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When all the roads are deep with dust
Last Line: And all the world return to shade.
Subject(s): Summer


When all the roads are deep with dust,
When chestnut blossoms tinge with rust,
On every ridge, the forest's crown
And pour their plumy pollen down,
When droughts have burned the meadows brown
And drained the watercourses bare,
When honeysuckles scent the air,
And bees boom loud in every bower,
Though now, save at the twilight hour,
Through all the long parched day, is heard
No more the song of any bird --
Song-sparrow, bob-o'-link, or thrush --
And on the noontide falls a hush,
When every breeze's listless breath
Is laden with a fiery death.
Then come with me and seek the cool
Moist margin of the hidden pool
That I, and I alone, have found,
Fed by a stream, whose tinkling sound
Makes silver music in the shade
Spread by a little forest glade,
And whose clear rippling waves distil,
Beneath the leaves a grateful chill.
There we shall rest; and, if you choose,
The pool's shy god will not refuse
To welcome you within his tide.
Lay all your clinging lawns aside,
And, white upon the grassy rim,
Let first your foot, one slender limb,
The cool, caressing waters lave.
Then swiftly slip into the wave,
And let the lucent amber fold
Its flood around you, flecked with gold,
Down where bright pebbled gleam remote. . . .
Slow to the surface you shall float,
A vision of soft Cyprian foam.
And since no Nymph has made her home
Within this fountain, you shall be
Its tutelar divinity --
Shall on its waters cast such spell
That he who comes his thirst to quell,
Through your enchantment shall be kept,
By strange dreams haunted, nymphalept,
Straining above all pools to see
Some fleeting, white-limbed mystery,
Bending above all brooks to trace
The shadowy features of a face
That tempts and taunts him, till its lure
Proves more than passion may endure,
And, drawn into her gleaming lair,
He dies entangled in her hair.
So, with our fancies, we shall cheat
The raging dogstar's sultry heat,
Until the sun less straight shall send
His rays, then we shall homeward bend
Our steps reflective, tranquil, slow,
Well pleased to linger as we go,
To watch the fiery splendour fade
And all the world return to shade.





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