March View from Hillside
W. H. C. Hosmer
From Later Lays and Lyrics
The air is chill—the lake lies spread
Paler than shroud that wraps the dead;
Save its mid-current, blue as steel,
While spray drops whiten, and congeal.
Oh! how unlike its summer dress,
A sheet of azure loveliness,
In which the swallow dips his wings,
And breaks its breast, in rippling rings,
When the scared water-fowl upsprings!
The trees along its frozen shore
Wear not the look in June they wore,
Flinging deep shade the greensward o’er,
With leaf harps trembling when the breeze
To music woke their emerald keys.
Conesus! in my younger days,
I looked on gently sloping farms,
Rich frame-work for thy silvery charms,
With fixed, enamored gaze;
Sails gleaming on thy crystal sheet,
Glanced on the sight, and disappeared,
As if by airy phantoms steered,
And Nature woke no sound more sweet
Than the low, lulling measured beat
Of foam-flaked, undulating swells
On glittering sands inlaid with shells.
Old legends cling to lake and shore,
But they inspire my lay no more,
Though, in my younger, happier years,
While sighed the wind among the pines,
And old oaks with their clinging vines
I heard, methought, the talk of seers,
And sachems, near the “Haunted Spring,”
To listeners in the council ring;
Or when wan moonlight flecked the waters
Would spirit barks, to fancy’s eye
Filled with the greenwood’s dusky daughters,
Float without oar or paddle by.
How changed the scene! a cloud arch
Borrows no lustre from the morn,
While that wild trumpeter, young March,
Is blowing on his battle-horn.
Less dread was Winter’s iron reign,
And bleak and bare lie ridge and plain,
While Hillside Farm is sad to-day
Beneath a sky of leaden gray,
For nevermore will walk as lord,
My friend upon its meadow sward,
And look upon a landscape round
In mellow Autumn unexcelled,
And dreamy, like enchanted ground,
In Summer time beheld:
But mid these scenes, renowned in song,
His memory will be cherished long;
For here his rural home he made,
the landscape by his presence graced,
And leaves behind to view displayed,
In wintry gloom, or summer shade,
Marks of his elegance and taste.
Hillside, March 6, 1866.