THEY are laughing in the meadow,

They are smiling in the dell; 

Upon the woody hill-tops

The blue-eyed beauties dwell; 

And unto those who love them

A pleasant tale they tell.

They speak of sunny weather, 

Of birds and babbling brooks,

Of walks within the forest glens, 

And rest within its nooks,

And many a dreamy fancy

Recorded not in books.

From fallen leaves and withered

They mischievously peep, 

And laugh at later flowers

Unwakened from their sleep, 

While tenderly they guard them, 

And loving vigil keep.

In modest maiden beauty

Some blush along the way, 

While others fleck the meadows,

Or by the fountains stray, 

In white or blue habiliments

To greet the April day.

They seem at frolic ever,

Now hiding from my sight, 

And then together clustering

As if in half affright, 

Yet conscious of their holiday,

And happy in the light,

No other coming flowers 

To me are dear as they, 

Of those that bloom in April,

Or in the genial May; 

I would that thus to comfort me

They evermore would stay!

For tales of vanished childhood

To me they sweetly sing, 

And to the fading memory 

They recollections bring 

Of home and loving faces 

A precious offering.