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A Years Carols

Written by: Algernon Charles Swinburne | Biography
 JANUARY
HAIL, January, that bearest here
On snowbright breasts the babe-faced year
That weeps and trembles to be born.
Hail, maid and mother, strong and bright, Hooded and cloaked and shod with white, Whose eyes are stars that match the morn.
Thy forehead braves the storm's bent bow, Thy feet enkindle stars of snow.
FEBRUARY Wan February with weeping cheer, Whose cold hand guides the youngling year Down misty roads of mire and rime, Before thy pale and fitful face The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears, But lit with hopes that light the year's.
MARCH Hail, happy March, whose foot on earth Rings as the blast of martial mirth When trumpets fire men's hearts for fray.
No race of wild things winged or finned May match the might that wings thy wind Through air and sea, through scud and spray.
Strong joy and thou were powers twin-born Of tempest and the towering morn.
APRIL Crowned April, king whose kiss bade earth Bring forth to time her lordliest birth When Shakespeare from thy lips drew breath And laughed to hold in one soft hand A spell that bade the world's wheel stand, And power on life, and power on death, With quiring suns and sunbright showers Praise him, the flower of all thy flowers.
MAY Hail, May, whose bark puts forth full-sailed For summer; May, whom Chaucer hailed With all his happy might of heart, And gave thy rosebright daisy-tips Strange frarance from his amorous lips That still thine own breath seems to part And sweeten till each word they say Is even a flower of flowering May.
JUNE Strong June, superb, serene, elate With conscience of thy sovereign state Untouched of thunder, though the storm Scathe here and there thy shuddering skies And bid its lightning cross thine eyes With fire, thy golden hours inform Earth and the souls of men with life That brings forth peace from shining strife.
JULY Hail, proud July, whose fervent mouth Bids even be morn and north be south By grace and gospel of thy word, Whence all the splendour of the sea Lies breathless with delight in thee And marvel at the music heard From the ardent silent lips of noon And midnight's rapturous plenilune.
AUGUST Great August, lord of golden lands, Whose lordly joy through seas and strands And all the red-ripe heart of earth Strikes passion deep as life, and stills The folded vales and folding hills With gladness too divine for mirth, The gracious glories of thine eyes Make night a noon where darkness dies.
SEPTEMBER Hail, kind September, friend whose grace Renews the bland year's bounteous face With largess given of corn and wine Through many a land that laughs with love Of thee and all the heaven above, More fruitful found than all save thine Whose skies fulfil with strenuous cheer The fervent fields that knew thee near.
OCTOBER October of the tawny crown, Whose heavy-laden hands drop down Blessing, the bounties of thy breath And mildness of thy mellowing might Fill earth and heaven with love and light Too sweet for fear to dream of death Or memory, while thy joy lives yet, To know what joy would fain forget.
NOVEMBER Hail, soft November, though thy pale Sad smile rebuke the words that hail Thy sorrow with no sorrowing words Or gratulate thy grief with song Less bitter than the winds that wrong Thy withering woodlands, where the birds Keep hardly heart to sing or see How fair thy faint wan face may be.
DECEMBER December, thou whose hallowing hands On shuddering seas and hardening lands Set as a sacramental sign The seal of Christmas felt on earth As witness toward a new year's birth Whose promise makes thy death divine, The crowning joy that comes of thee Makes glad all grief on land or sea.



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