The woods in winter are a waste,
A desert where a city grew;
And all its alleys of delight
The wolves of winter, grey and white, Go moaning through.
But to the summons of the sun
Anew the absent dwellers come;
And every blank dispeopled lane
Is rich, and blithe, and bright again
With life and home.
The flowers, the children of their race,
About their feet begin to throng;
And to their jocund welcome wings
A flight of sweet forgotten things,
Odour and song.
Ah! when the woods are winter bare
The pretty Dryad tale of old
Of spirits dying with the tree,
Is but an idle thing to me,
And leaves me cold.
But in our common joy of May
I would be easy to persuade
That matter is with spirit crowned,
The touch divine, in all around
That God has made.