February, bitter February,
Month of hope withheld and promise vain,
Drenching, under fickle smiles, the unwary
Earth with devastating rain.
Ere the limes with ruddy spear-points glimmer,
Ere the greenness leap from bush to bush,
While the starveling grass grows dim and dimmer,
And the folded snowdrops push;
Ah! be gracious, tenderly relenting,
Take not back thy gifts with churlish hand;
Let the breath of thy serene consenting
Falter through the weary land.
Rather thunder on in bleak resistance,
Swift to spoil and rigorous to deny,
Than as thus to veil the sullen distance
With thy bleared and tear-stained sky.
Arthur Christopher Benson