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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Death of Winter

By Robert Burns Wilson (1850–1916)

[Born in Washington Co., Penn., 1850. Died in Brooklyn, N. Y., 1916. Life and Love. Poems. 1887.]

PIERCED by the sun’s bright arrows, Winter lies

With dabbled robes upon the blurred hill-side;

Fast runs the clear cold blood, in vain he tries

With cooling breath to check the flowing tide.

He faintly hears the footsteps of fair Spring

Advancing through the woodland to the dell,

Anon she stops to hear the waters sing,

And call the flowers, that know her voice full well.

Ah, now she smiles to see the glancing stream;

She stirs the dead leaves with her anxious feet;

She stoops to plant the first awakening beam,

And woos the cold Earth with warm breathings sweet.

“Ah, gentle mistress, doth thy soul rejoice

To find me thus laid low? So fair thou art!

Let me but hear the music of thy voice;

Let me but die upon thy pitying heart.

“Soon endeth life for me. Thou wilt be blessed;

The flowering fields, the budding trees be thine.

Grant me the pillow of thy fragrant breast;

Then come, oblivion, I no more repine.”

Thus urged the dying Winter. She, the fair,

Whose heart hath love, and only love, to give,

Did quickly lay her full warm bosom bare

For his cold cheek, and fondly whispered “Live.”

His cold white lips close to her heart she pressed;

Her sighs were mingled with each breath he drew;

And when the strong life faded, on her breast

Her own soft tears fell down like heavenly dew.

O ye sweet blossoms of the whispering lea,

Ye fair, frail children of the woodland wide,

Ye are the fruit of that dear love which she

Did give to wounded Winter ere he died.

And some are tinted like her eyes of blue,

Some hold the blush that on her cheek did glow,

Some from her lips have caught their scarlet hue,

But more still keep the whiteness of the snow.