The Civil War Connections Blog


From the December 20, 1862 Harper’s Weekly



When winter rains begin,
And trees are yellow and thin,
And every garden bed
Is a couch for the dying or dead;
When woods are mouldy and dank;
When the sodden river bank
Is gusty, and misty, and chill,
And birds are dull and still;
Then may you chance to see
What has no right to be—
A primrose breaking its sheath
In this time of sorrow and death,
A violet under a leaf
In this season of sickness and grief,
All alone, with the spring in their eyes and breath

Or you may hear, perchance,
Across the brown wood’s trance,
A sudden mid-May note,
Trilled out of a blackbird’s throat;
As if he had joy to spare,
Which brightened the lifeless air;
Oh! sad are these relics which last
To tell of the bright days past!
Nay, but dear are these signs which are born
To hint of the coming morn.
Is it saddest or sweetest to feel
A breath from our childhood steal,
A gleam from the days of our youth,
Of tenderness, trust, and truth,
Of sweet emotions lost
Glide over our age’s frost,
When the deadest time is near,
The dark hour which must be cross’d,
And beyond are the flowers of the vernal year