Spring in the South

by Henry Van Dyke

Now in the oak the sap of life is welling,
Tho' to the bough the rusty leafage clings;
Now on the elm the misty buds are swelling,
See how the pine-wood grows alive with wings;
Blue-jays fluttering, yodeling and crying,
Meadow-larks sailing low above the faded grass,
Red-birds whistling clear, silent robins flying,--
Who has waked the birds up? What has come to pass?

Last year's cotton-plants, desolately bowing,
Tremble in the March-wind, ragged and forlorn;
Red are the hill-sides of the early ploughing,
Gray are the lowlands, waiting for the corn.
Earth seems asleep still, but she's only feigning;
Deep in her bosom thrills a sweet unrest.
Look where the jasmine lavishly is raining
Jove's golden shower into Danae's breast!

Now on the plum the snowy bloom is sifted,
Now on the peach the glory of the rose,
Over the hills a tender haze is drifted,
Full to the brim the yellow river flows.
Dark cypress boughs with vivid jewels glisten,
Greener than emeralds shining in the sun.
Who has wrought the magic? Listen, sweetheart, listen!
The mocking-bird is singing Spring has begun.

Hark, in his song no tremor of misgiving!
All of his heart he pours into his lay,--
"Love, love, love, and pure delight of living:
Winter is forgotten: here's a happy day!"
Fair in your face I read the flowery presage,
Snowy on your brow and rosy on your mouth:
Sweet in your voice I hear the season's message,--
Love, love, love, and Spring in the South!

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