Spring Dirge by Victor J. Daley

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A child came singing, through the dusty town,
   A song so sweet that all men stayed to hear;
   Forgetting, for a space, their ancient fear
Of evil days and death and fortune's frown.

She sang of Winter dead and Spring new-born
  In the green fields beyond the far hills bound;
   And how this fair Spring, coming blossum-crowned,
Would cross the city's threshold on the morn.

And each caged bird in every close anigh,
   En' as she sang, caught up the glad refrain
   Of Hope and Love, fair days come again,
'Till all who heard forgot they had to die.

And all the ghosts of buried woes were laid
   That heard the song of this sweet sorceress;
   The Past grew to a dream of old distress,
And merry were the hearts of man and maid.

So, at the first faint flush of tender dawn
   Spring stole with noiseless steps through the gray gloom,
   And men knew only by a strange perfume
Which filled the air that she had come and gone.

But, ah, the lustre of her violet eyes
   Was dimmed with tears for her sweet singing maid,
   Whose voice would sound no more in shine or shade
To charm men's souls at set of sun or rise.

For there, with dews of dawn upon her hair,
   Like a fair flower plucked and flung away,
   Dead in the street the litte maiden lay
Who gave now life to hearts nigh dead of care.

Alas, must this be still the bitter doom
   Awaiting those, the finer souled of earth,
   Who make for men a morning song of mirth
While yet the birds are dumb amid the gloom?

They walk on thorny ways with feet unshod;
   Sing one last song, and die as that song dies.
   There is no human hand to close their eyes,
And very heavy is the hand of God.

First published
in The Sydney Mail, 22 July 1882;
and then later in
At Dawn and Dusk by Victor J. Daley, 1902.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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