MAY IS A PIOUS FRAUD
by: James Russell Lowell
- AY is a
pious fraud of the almanac.
- A ghastly parody of real Spring
- Shaped out of snow and breathed with eastern wind;
- Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date,
- And, with her handful of anemones,
- Herself as shivery, steal into the sun,
- The season need but turn his hour-glass round,
- And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear,
- Reels back, and brings the dead May in his arms,
- Her budding breasts and wan dislustred front
- With frosty streaks and drifts of his white beard
- All overblown. Then, warmly walled with books,
- While my wood-fire supplies the sun's defect,
- Whispering old forest-sagas in its dreams,
- I take my May down from the happy shelf
- Where perch the world's rare song-birds in a row,
- Waiting my choice to upen with full breast,
- And beg an alms of springtime, ne'er denied
- Indoors by vernal Chaucer, whose fresh woods
- Throb thick with merle and mavis all the years.
MORE POEMS BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
"May is a Pious Fraud"
is reprinted from Under the Willows and Other Poems. James
Russell Lowell. Boston: Fields Osgood & Co., 1869.