Once in thy secret close, now almost bare,
Peace yielded up her bountiful largess;
The dawn dropp'd sunshine thro' thy leafy dress;
The sunset bathed thy glade with beauty rare.
Spring once wove here her tapestry of flowers,
The primrose sweet, the errant celandine;
The blue–bell and the wild rose that doth twine
Its beauty 'round the laughing summer hours.
Here lovers stole unseen at deep'ning eve,
High–tide within their hearts, love in their eyes,
And told a tale whose magic never dies
That only they who love can quite believe.
Now 'mid thy splinter'd trees the great shells crash,
The subterranean mines thy deeps divide;
And men from Death and Terror there do hide –
Hide in thy caves from shrapnel's deadly splash.
Yet 'mid thy ruins, shrine now desolate,
The Spring breaks thro' and visions many a spot
With promise of the wild–rose – tho' belate –
And the eternal blue forget–me–not.
So Nature flourishes amid decay,
Defiant of the fate that laid her low;
So Man in triumph scorning Death below
Visions the springtide of a purer day:
Dreams of the day when rampant there will rise
The flowers of Truth and Freedom from the blood
Of noble youth who died: when there will bud
The flower of Love from human sacrifice.
There by the fallen youth, where heroes lie,
Close by each simple cross the flowers will spring,
The bonnes enfants will wander in Spring,
And lovers dream those dreams that never die.