The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: Spring

“The Reign of May” by James Gates Percival


Henry Ward Ranger, Spring Woods

The Reign of May
By James Gates Percival
From the United States Literary Gazette, May 1, 1825

I feel a newer life in every gale;
The winds, that fan the flowers,
And with their welcome breathings fill the sail,
Tell of serener hours—
Of hours that glide unfelt away
Beneath the sky of May.

The spirit of the gentle south-wind calls
From his blue throne of air,
And where his whispering voice in music falls,
Beauty is budding there;
The bright ones of the valley break
Their slumbers and awake.

The waving verdure rolls along the plain,
And the wide forest weaves,
To welcome back its playful mates again,
A canopy of leaves;
And from its darkening shadow floats
A gush of trembling notes.

Fairer and brighter spreads the reign of May;
The tresses of the woods,
With the light dallying of the west-wind play,
And the full-brimming floods,
As gladly to their goal they run,
Hail the returning sun.

“Spring” by Nathaniel Parker Willis

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.”

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.


“The Call of Spring” by Charles Fenno Hoffman

The Call of Spring
Charles Fenno Hoffman

THOU wak’st again, O Earth !
From winter’s sleep !—
Bursting with voice of mirth
From icy keep ;
And laughing at the Sun,
Who hath their freedom won,
Thy waters leap !

Thou wak’st again, O Earth !
Feebly again,
And who by fireside hearth
Will now remain ?
Come on the rosy hours—
Come on thy buds and flowers,
As when in Eden’s bowers,
Spring first did reign.
Birds on thy breezes chime
Blithe as in that matin time
Their choiring begun :
Earth, thou has many a prime—
Man hath but one !

Thou wak’st anew, O Earth !
Freshly anew !
As when at Spring’s first birth
First flow’rets grew.
Heart ! that to earth dost cling,
While boughs are blossoming,
Why wake not too ?

Long thou in sloth hast lain,
Listing to Love’s soft strain—
Wilt thou sleep on?
Playing, thou sluggard heart,
In life no manly part,
Though youth be gone.
Wake ! ’tis Spring’s quickening breath
Now o’er thee blown ;
Awake thee ! ere thou in death
Pulselessly slumbereth,
Pluck thou from Glory’s wreath
One leaf alone !

“Spring-Time Is Coming” by Sarah Johnson Cogswell Whittlesey

Spring-Time Is Coming
From Graham’s Magazine, June, 1853
Sarah Johnson Cogswell Whittlesey

SPRING-TIME is coming, I hear its low humming,
Oft where the blue waters sweep;
Sandaled with gold, it breaks the brown mold,
Waking the blossoms asleep.

Down in the bed, where the little bud’s head’
Sunk when its mission was done,
A tiny green sprout, peeping sly out,
Opens its heart to the sun.

Low in the vale, where the winter’s loud wail
Frighted the summer’s soft breeze,
Maiden Spring weaves, of miniature leaves,
Robes for the bare old trees.

‘Neath the white snows, the sorrowing rose,
Through the chill moments hath lain;
Soon its bright face, from out its green case,
Will be uplifted again.

Thus in dark hours, the heart’s buds and flowers
Fade in the winter of sorrow;
Let us not sigh, the little shut eye
Will drink the warm sunshine to-morrow!

So shall it be when the spirit is free
From its close prison of clay;
Life’s withered bud must hide in the sod,
But oh! there is Spring-time away!