28th APRIL, 1917

Hush, hush, inhuman one ! Haunt moonlit arbours ;

Revel ; ay, love ; but noiseless ; never sing !
Hast thou no sense what heart of listener harbours ?
Oh, is this spring to thee no less than spring ?

I heard thee suddenly ; that ancient impulse
Breathless to hearken, seized me unaware.
Even as I heard of old, and felt the dim pulse
Of earth speak through thee, and thy bliss could share.

Now, what a pang it brought, the rapture piercing !
Hast thou no heart ? Thou, that in years now fled
So sang, that in thy voice we seemed to hear sing
Our hearts — in days before our friends were dead.

How canst thou come again, true to thy season.
Woo, mate, make music, as when spring was joy ?
How canst thou sing to us without a reason ?
Must thou our dear-bought calm of mind destroy ?

We could endure the flowers ; though memories tragic
With their soft beauty woke, it lulled our pain.
Thou hast a soul, and with resistless magic
Whisperest of hopes we dare not nurse again.

Till we can hear thee as these blithe new-comers,
Cuckoos and swallows, that make no heart sore.
Cease; for our children there shall still be summers;
Thou’lt sing for them so, though for us no more.

If thou canst feel, then, wait till we are older;
Wiser; to loss resigned ; the way less long.
Dreams, and strange hopes that rise, desires grown
Old mystic thoughts revived, rare glints of song —

These wouldst thou bring us now, but old friends bring
O, for one year yet, shim thy wonted grove ;
Or visit us as thou didst once, but sing not ;
Or sing, O nightingale, but not of love.

“28th APRIL, 1917” by Archibald Young Campbell


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