Spring's herald, hail! You've rent the forest's quiet?
Your hair is wet, and you are leaf-strewn, dusty…
With your powers lusty
Have you raised a riot?
What noise about you of the flood set free,
That follows at your heels,-turn back and see:
It spurts upon you! -Was it that you fought for?
You were in there where stumps and trunks are rotting
Where long the winter-graybeards have been plotting
To prison safe that which a lock they wrought for.
But power gave you Pan, the ancient god!
They cried aloud and cursed your future lot?
Your gallant feat they held a robber's fraud?
-Each spring it happens; but is soon forgot.
You cast you down beside the salt sea's wave.
It too is free; dances with joy to find you.
You know the music well; for Pan resigned you
His art one evening by a viking's grave.
But while on nature's loving lap you lie,
The tramp of battle on the land you hear,
You see the steamers as they northward steer
With freedom's flag;-of your name comes a cry.
And so is torn between the two your breast:-
Freedom's bold fighters, who now proudly rally,
In nature's life and legend dreamy rest;
The former chide, the latter lures to dally.
Your songs sound, some as were a war-horn braying,
Some softly purl like streams on reedy strand.
Half nature-sprite and half as man you stand,
The two not yet one law of life obeying.
But as you seem and as yourself you are
(The faun's love that the viking's longing tinges),
We welcome you, no lock is left nor bar,-
You bring along the door and both the hinges.
Just this it is that we are needing now:
The spring, the spring! These stifling fumes we bear
Of royal incense and of monkish snuff,
Of corpses in romantic cloak and ruff,
Are bad for morals and for lungs: Fresh air!
Rather a draught of Songs Venetian, cheerful,
With southern wantonness and color-wonders,-
Rather 'Two Shots' (although they make us fearful)
Against our shallow breeding and its blunders.
Spring's herald, hail! come from the forest's choir,
From ocean's roar, from armèd hosts and grim!
Though sometimes carelessly you struck the lyre,-
Where rich growth is, one can the rank shoots trim.
The small trolls jeer the gestures of a giant,
I love you so,-unique and self-reliant.