UNDINÉ and all her troop
Are out to-night; the tides are high;
Like spray far thrown across the moon,
The clouds go sailing through the sky.
The showers sweep down and shroud the world,
On darkling rainbows skim afar;
The brooks burst up beside the way,
And great winds strip some naked star, —
Great winds, mad winds, winds of March,
That, streaming from the void and vast,
Make mortals feel the impotence
Of atoms borne before the blast.
But Ariel holds them in his leash;
All the Wild Ladies follow him.
The great Ghandarvas blow their tunes
From silver peaks and valleys dim;
Witch and warlock, imps and elves,
The urchins of the misty dale,
And echoes mocking all the stir,
Ride down the long gust of the gale!
Hark! do you catch the Banshee’s cry?
That is the hammering trolls you hear!
Turn not too swiftly, lest you start
The Lurley singing in your ear!
Powers of earth and powers of air
Are all abroad; the night is quick
With strange and subtile sorceries,
Bred of the storm, and swarming thick
As bees about a blooming branch,
Honey dripping, dew besprent,
Steeped in sunshine underneath
The blue of some great morning’s tent.
Each enchantment of the sphere,
Blown from the sea and blown from shore,
Works its wild will and wizardry
While darkness wraps the gay uproar,
Till rosy dawn shall set the spell;
When, lo! the bare boughs of yestreen
Confess the magic of the March,
And wave such veils of callow green
As clad, in the old mystic tale,
The rods that Jannes and Jambres throw,
To break in blossom as they fall
Before the feet of Pharaoh!
For the fierce tempest, with its shock
Of wind and sleet that midnight cloaks,
Like some old thaumaturge who makes
A mighty marvel, now evokes
The violet on her dewy locks,
The sunlight on her lifted wing,
The clouds of incense floating by, —
The Apparition of the Spring!
Harriet Prescott Spofford.