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Prelude

(TO AN EARLY BOOK OF VERSE.)



  In March the earliest bluebird came
    And caroled from the orchard-tree
    His little tremulous songs to me,
  And called upon the summer's name,


  And made old summers in my heart
    All sweet with flower and sun again;
    So that I said, "O, not in vain
  Shall be thy lay of little art,


  "Though never summer sun may glow,
    Nor summer flower for thee may bloom;
    Though winter turn in sudden gloom,
  And drowse the stirring spring with snow";


  And learned to trust, if I should call
    Upon the sacred name of Song,
    Though chill through March I languish long,
  And never feel the May at all,


  Yet may I touch, in some who hear,
    The hearts, wherein old songs asleep
    Wait but the feeblest touch to leap
  In music sweet as summer air!


  I sing in March brief bluebird lays,
    And hope a May, and do not know:
    May be, the heaven is full of snow,--
  May be, there open summer days.



 

William Dean Howells