One morning, I found Lilacs in the rain:
The sun had fled, the birds had stopped singing,
The skies were dimmed by gaunt and graying clouds—
But I stood by the Lilacs, smiling.
Each one seemed too sweet to outlive the morn,
Thickening the air with its dying breath;
I thought of all the beauties May has borne—
How sweetly they welcome Death.
Oh! how dreamy was the new spring day,
Streams like pristine angels were sighing,
Breezes swept through woods like Aeolian harps—
Only you, sweet Lilacs, were shivering.
Was the mid-May sunlight still too soft,
Or did a sweet breeze come and whisper
Tidings of some approaching season—
Did she mention the coming of winter?
Once again, I’ve wandered into the garden Where I used to play as a little child When a thousand flowery faces would greet me, All of them lovely and wild.
The dreamy lavender would serenely sway, Sending its fragrant kisses through the air, Until gentle breezes would chase them away, Like children laughing, free of care.
Shining dew drops dripped from the rose’s calyx, Staining its crown of verdant sepals, Until May arrived with her brilliant rains And spring gleamed in a thousand petals.
But of all the flowery faces I saw there, These stood out more than all the others: The vernal Lilacs—ready to relinquish Their breath to the early hours.
Their fragrance stirred something deep inside my soul As I wandered through that flowery fane— I felt something I had never felt before From those Lilacs in the rain.
For the soft spring-time showers distilled To an understanding that left me cold: How even the sweetest of things must still die As youth fades and we grow old.
And so I smile on this beautiful morning, My tears falling through the perfumed air As a flood of sweet new faces welcomes me And bird songs sound everywhere.
The beauties of May now greet me once again, And they flood my soul with a precious pain— May the briefness of their beauty haunt me Like those Lilacs in the rain.