WOE is me to tell it thee, Winter winds in Arcady! Scattered is thy flock and fled From the glades where once it fed, And the snow lies drifted white In the bower of our delight, Where the beech threw gracious shade On the cheek of boy and maid: And the bitter blasts make roar Through the fleshless sycamore.
White enchantment holds the spring, Where thou once wert wont to sing, And the cold hath cut to death Reeds melodious of thy breath. He, the rival of thy lyre, Nightingale with note of fire, Sings no more; but far away, From the windy hill-side gray, Calls the broken note forlorn Of an aged shepherd's horn.
Still about the fire they tell How it long ago befell That a shepherd maid and lad Met and trembled and were glad; When the swift spring waters ran, And the wind to boy or man Brought the aching of his sires-- Song and love and all desires. Ere the starry dogwoods fell They were lovers, so they tell.
Woe is me to tell it thee, Winter winds in Arcady! Broken pipes and vows forgot, Scattered flocks returning not, Frozen brook and drifted hill, Ashen sun and song-birds still; Songs of summer and desire Crooned about the winter fire; Shepherd lads with silver hair, Shepherd maids no longer fair.