Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FIRST OF MARCH, by FREDERICK TENNYSON



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FIRST OF MARCH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Through the gaunt woods the winds are shrilling cold
Last Line: And the wild lark is heard above him singing!
Subject(s): March (month)


THROUGH the gaunt woods the winds are shrilling cold,
Down from the rifted rack the sunbeam pours,
Over the cold gray slopes, and stony moors;
The glimmering water-course, the eastern wold,
And over it the whirling sail o' the mill,
The lonely hamlet with its mossy spire,
The piled city smoking like a pyre,
Fetched out of shadow gleam with light as chill.

The young leaves pine, their early promise stayed;
The Hope-deluded sorrow at the sight
Of the sweet blossoms by the treacherous light
Flattered to death, like tender love betrayed;
And stepdames frown, and aged virgins chide;
Relentless hearts put on their iron mood;
The hunter's dog lies dreaming of the wood,
And dozes barking by the ingle-side.

Larks twitter, martens glance, and curs from far
Rage down the wind, and straight are heard no more;
Old wives peep out, and scold, and bang the door;
And clanging clocks grow angry in the air;
Sorrow and care, perplexity and pain
Frown darker shadows on the homeless one,
And the gray beggar buffeting alone
Pleads in the howling storm, and pleads in vain.

The field-fires smoke along the champaign drear,
And drive before the north wind streaming down
Bleak hill, and furrow dark, and fallow brown;
Few living things along the land appear;
The weary horse looks out, his mane astray,
With anxious fetlock, and uneasy eye,
And sees the market-carts go madly by
With sidelong drivers reckless of the way.

The sere beech-leaves, that trembled dry and red
All the long Winter on the frosty bough,
Or slept in quiet underneath the snow,
Fly off, like resurrections of the dead;
The horny ploughman, and his yoked ox,
Wink at the icy blasts; and beldames bold,
Stout, and red-hooded, flee before the cold;
And children's eyes are blinded by the shocks.

You cannot hear the waters for the wind;
The brook that foams, and falls, and bubbles by,
Hath lost its voice -- but ancient steeples sigh,
And belfries moan -- and crazy ghosts, confined
In dark courts, weep, and shake the shuddering gates,
And cry from points of windy pinnacles,
Howl through the bars, and 'plain among the bells,
And shriek, and wail like voices of the Fates!

And who is He, that down the mountain-side,
Swift as a shadow flying from the sun,
Between the wings of stormy Winds doth run,
With fierce blue eyes, and eyebrows knit with pride;
Though now and then I see sweet laughters play
Upon his lips, like moments of bright heaven
Thrown 'twixt the cruel blasts of morn and even,
And golden locks beneath his hood of gray?

Sometimes he turns him back to wave farewell
To his pale Sire with icy beard and hair;
Sometimes she sends before him through the air
A cry of welcome down a sunny dell;
And while the echoes are around him ringing,
Sudden the angry wind breathes low and sweet,
Young violets show their blue eyes at his feet,
And the wild lark is heard above him singing!





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