Still lie the sheltering snows,
undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter’s pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year’s ill,
And prayer to purify the new year’s will:
Fit days, ere yet the spring rains blur the sight,
Ere yet the bounding blood grows hot with haste,
And dreaming thoughts grow heavy with agreed
The ardent summer’s joy to have and taste;
Fit days, to give to last year’s losses heed,
To recon clear the new life’s sterner need;
Fit days for Feast of Expiation placed!
His footprints, where along the barren shore
He speeds away for long to roam no more;
And mid the echoing tempests of his race,
We mark his last faint wavelet on the face
Of some forgotten rock, that pale and lone
Stands watchman o’er his mighty wrongs o’ergone.
Amid the silence of the mighty dead,
We hear the dirge of Time o’er Nature’s head;
And yet, ‘mid all the Ruin of his State,
Heaving his spirit through the stilly gloom,
We trace the high resolves he forged in fate;
Poetry! Oh, thy bright daughters brood
O’er his tomb, and laugh the death away
In those short lines and fitting melody
That ever echo, of the Hero’s name!