“Spring” by Nathaniel Parker Willis

by Ann Neilson

Spring.
Nathaniel Parker Willis
From The Poems, Sacred, Passionate, and Humorous, of Nathaniel Parker Willis, 1849.

“L’onda del mar divisa
Baguna la valle e l’monte,
Va passegiera
In fiume,
Va prigionera
In fonte,
Mormora sempre e geme
Fin che non torna al mar.”
Metastasio.

The Spring is here—the delicate-footed May,
With its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers,
And with it comes a thirst to be away,
In lovelier scenes to pass these sweeter hours,
A feeling like the worm’s awakening wings,
Wild for companionship with swifter things.

We pass out from the city’s feverish hum,
To find refreshment in the silent woods;
And nature, that is beautiful and dumb,
Like a cool sleep upon the pulses broods—
Yet, even there, a restless thought will steal,
To teach the indolent heart it still must feel.

Strange, that the audible stillness of the noon,
The waters tripping with their silver feet,
The turning to the light of leaves in June,
And the light whisper as their edges meet—
Strange—that they fill not, with their tranquil tone,
The spirit, walking in their midst alone.

There’s no contentment in a world like this,
Save in forgetting the immortal dream;
We may not gaze upon the stars of bliss,
That through the cloud-rifts radiantly stream;
Bird-like, the prison’d soul will lift its eye
And pine till it is hooded from the sky.