A Celebration of Women Writers

"Breathings of Spring" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 283-285.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


[Page 283] 

BREATHINGS OF SPRING.


Thou giv'st me flowers, thou giv'st me songs;–bring back
The love that I have lost!

WHAT wak'st thou, Spring?–sweet voices in the woods,
  And reed-like echoes, that have long been mute;
Thou bringest back, to fill the solitudes,
  The lark's clear pipe, the cuckoo's viewless flute,
Whose tone seems breathing mournfulness or glee,
          Ev'n as our hearts may be.

And the leaves greet thee, Spring!–the joyous leaves,
  Whose tremblings gladden many a copse and glade,
Where each young spray a rosy flush receives,
  When thy south-wind hath pierced the whispery shade,
And happy murmurs, running thro' the grass,
          Tell that thy footsteps pass.

[Page 284] 

And the bright waters–they too hear thy call,
  Spring, the awakener! thou hast burst their sleep!
Amidst the hollows of the rocks their fall
  Makes melody, and in the forests deep,
Where sudden sparkles and blue gleams betray
          Their windings to the day.

And flowers–the fairy-peopled world of flowers!
  Thou from the dust hast set that glory free,
Colouring the cowslip with the sunny hours,
  And pencilling the wood-anemone;
Silent they seem–yet each to thoughtful eye
          Glows with mute poesy.

But what awak'st thou in the heart, O Spring!
  The human heart, with all its dreams and sighs?
Thou that giv'st back so many a buried thing,
  Restorer of forgotten harmonies!
Fresh songs and scents break forth where'er thou art,
          What wak'st thou in the heart?

[Page 285] 

Too much, oh! there too much!–we know not well
  Wherefore it should be thus, yet rous'd by thee,
What fond, strange yearnings, from the soul's deep cell,
  Gush for the faces we no more may see!
How are we haunted, in thy wind's low tone,
          By voices that are gone!

Looks of familiar love, that never more,
  Never on earth, our aching eyes shall meet,
Past words of welcome to our household door,
  And vanish'd smiles, and sounds of parted feet–
Spring! midst the murmurs of thy flowering trees,
          Why, why reviv'st thou these?

Vain longings for the dead!–why come they back
  With thy young birds, and leaves, and living blooms?
Oh! is it not, that from thine earthly track
  Hope to thy world may look beyond the tombs?
Yes! gentle spring; no sorrow dims thine air,
          Breath'd by our lov'd ones there!

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom