Who has not felt his heart leap up, and glow
What time the Tulips first begin to blow,
Has one sweet joy still left for him to know.
It is like early love’s imagining,
That fragile pleasure which the Tulips bring,
When suddenly we see them, in the Spring.
Not all the garden’s later royal train,
Not great triumphant Roses, when they reign,
Can bring that delicate delight again.
One of the sweetest hours is this;
(Of all I think we like it best);
A little restful oasis,
Between the breakfast and the post.
Just south of coffee and of toast,
Just north of daily task and duty;
Just west of dreams, this island gleams,
A fertile spot of peace and beauty.
We wander out across the lawn;
We idle by a bush in bloom;
The household pets come following on;
Or if the day is one of gloom,
We loiter in a pleasant room,
Or from a casement lean and chatter.
Then comes the mail, like sudden hail,
And off we scatter.
When Roses die, in languid August days,
We leave the garden to its fallen ways,
And seek the shelter of wide porticoes,
Where Honeysuckle in defiance blows
Undaunted by the sun’s too ardent rays.
The matron Summer turns a wistful gaze
Across green valleys, back to tender Mays;
And something of her large contentment goes,
When Roses die;
Yet all her subtle fascination stays
To lure us into idle, sweet delays.
The lowered awning by the hammock shows
Inviting nooks for dreaming and repose;
Oh, restful are the pleasures of those days
When Roses die.
The summer folk, fled back to town;
The green woods changed to red and brown;
A sound upon the frosty air
Of windows closing everywhere.
And then the log, lapped by a blaze –
Oh! what is better than these days;
With books and friends and love a-near;
Go on, gay world, but leave me here.