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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

Introductory to British America

The Canadian Spring

By Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881)

’T WAS May! the Spring with magic bloom

Leaped up from Winter’s frozen tomb.

Day lit the river’s icy mail;

The bland warm rain at evening sank;

Ice fragments dashed in midnight’s gale;

The moose at morn the ripples drank.

The yacht, that stood with naked mast

In the locked shallows motionless

When sunset fell, went curtsying past

As breathed the morning’s light caress.

The woodman, in the forest deep,

At sunrise heard with gladdening thrill,

Where yester-eve was gloomy sleep,

The brown rossignol’s carol shrill;

Where yester-eve the snowbank spread

The hemlock’s twisted roots between,

He saw the coltsfoot’s golden head

Rising from mosses plump and green;

Whilst all around were budding trees,

And mellow sweetness filled the breeze.

A few days passed along, and brought

More changes as by magic wrought.

With plumes were tipped the beechen sprays;

The birch long dangling tassels showed;

The oak still bare, but in a blaze

Of gorgeous red the maple glowed;

With clusters of the purest white

Cherry and shadbush charmed the sight

Like spots of snow the boughs among;

And showers of strawberry blossoms made

Rich carpets in each field and glade

Where day its kindliest glances flung.

And air too hailed Spring’s joyous sway;

The bluebird warbled clear and sweet;

Then came the wren with carols gay,

The ’customed roof and porch to greet;

The mockbird showed its varied skill;

At evening moaned the whippoorwill.

Type of the Spring from Winter’s gloom!

The butterfly new being found;

Whilst round the pink may-apple’s bloom

Gave myriad drinking bees their sound.

Great fleeting clouds the pigeons made;

When near her brood the hunter strayed

With trailing limp the partridge stirred;

Whilst a quick feathered spangle shot,

Rapid as thought from spot to spot,

Showing the fairy humming-bird.