Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

A Birthday


The love within my heart that dwells
Knows nought of days or hours;
I hear thee in the Christmas bells,
I feel thee in the vernal showers;
And thy breath is blent with the wandering scent
Of the summer fruits and flowers.

And yet this morn my blood is stirred
With more than wonted glow;
Thy absent voice is strangely heard,
Thy spells upon me stronger grow;
And my spirit sips from unseen lips
That can be but thine, I know.

For thou wast born upon this day,
When I was but a child,
Ere winter frosts were ta'en away,
Ere primroses peeped out and smiled;
Ere the snows were reft from the sheltering cleft,
And the winds were high and wild.

Thus early unto me wast thou
An earnest of the spring;
Of happy birds upon the bough,
And sweet trees blossoming;
Of all that is fair upon earth, in air,
And the streams that bound and sing.

I wonder what the world was like
Before thou didst appear-
Did young lambs skip o'er mound and dyke?
Did throstles warble loud and clear?
And were sea and sky as deep and high
As they are now thou art here?

It were a dreary world indeed
To me, wert thou away;
The night no tumults sweet would breed,
No tranquil dalliance the day;
And though earth should fling all that Fame can bring
At my feet, I would not stay.

So, though sore-severed still we be,
Here, helpful one, remain!
Through travels long a bourne to me,
A crowning joy 'mid crushing pain;
An abiding star when the storm-waves jar,
And a rainbow 'mid the rain.

And fear not, sweet, but love like ours
Will keep us ever young:
No prey to the corroding hours,
No feast for the malignant tongue,
But as firm and fond in the years beyond
As when first we clasped and clung.

Age cannot touch such charms as thine;
My heart defies the sun:
Both shall but glow yet more divine,
His course more oft as he may run:
Till we spurn the earth for that second birth,
When we twain shall be only one.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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