By Joanna Baillie
What voice is this, thou evening gale!
That mingles with thy rising wail;
And, as it passes, sadly seems
The faint return of youthful dreams?
Though now its strain is wild and drear,
Blithe was it once as sky-lark’s cheer —
Sweet as the night-bird’s sweetest song, —
Dear as the lisp of infant’s tongue.
It was the voice, at whose sweet flow
The heart did beat, and cheek did glow,
And lip did smile, and eye did weep,
And motioned love the measure keep.
Oft be thy sound, soft gale of even,
Thus to my wistful fancy given;
And, as I list the swelling strain,
The dead shall seem to live again!
The daughter of a Church of Scotland minister, Romantic poet and playwright Joanna Baillie grew up in rural Scotland and spent much of her adult life in Hampstead, just outside London. Baillie’s lyric poems often take the form of meditations on nature and youth.
More By This Poet
Child, with many a childish wile,
Timid look, and blushing smile,
Downy wings to steal thy way,
Gilded bow, and quiver gay,
Who in thy simple mien would trace
The tyrant of the human race?
Who is he whose flinty heart
Hath not felt the flying dart?
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent