Dorothea Mackellar

“Sumer Is Icumen In”

The beautiful old simple songs
That make us laugh and cry,
That sing of dying loveliness
In words that cannot die:

Of how the singer’s love was sweet
Or how she was unkind,
And how her lips were red that now
Are dust upon the wind:

Of how the fields were gold in May
With daffodils a-row,
And all the birds made holiday
Six hundred years ago:—

These, when the beauty of the spring
Clad in this alien dress
Turns like a sharp sword in our hearts
For utter loveliness,

And joy and sorrow intermixed
Run tingling through our veins—
These bring more peace and comfort still
Than newer, subtler strains.

Oh, quarrion for missel-thrush
And rosewood bloom for may!
The things the nameless singer saw
Are what we see to-day.

The grass is just as green to-day,
The distant hill as blue,
The birds are just as glad as then,
The lovers just as true;

And Alisoun is dead long syne
With him that called her fair,
But love is just as sweet and fresh
When spring is in the air;

And though I must perforce be dumb
Who have no skill to sing,
I am as deep in love, in love,
As is the year in spring!