Hamilton Spring - Sligo Poets

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1916 > Sligo Poetry 1916 > Sligo Independent

        Sligo Independent
            22 April 1916


Winter’s over, winter’s over,
Spring has come with lambs and clover,
With the violet and the primrose,
And the quickly budding hedgerows;
Shower and sunshine swiftly waking,
Each the other’s footsteps taking.

February clear and cold,
March, with boisterous winds and bold,
April, with its sparkling showers,
Bring sweet May with all her flowers,
Joy, oh joy! for winter’s over,
Spring has come with lambs and clover.

Winter’s over, winter’s over,
Opening flowers the meadows cover,
All things young their voices raising,
Calves and lambkins skipping, grazing,
While we hear the cuckoo calling
In the woods as night is falling.

Winter’s over, winter’s over,
Back has come each little rover,
With a wisdom more than finite
From the far-off sunny climate,
And before our eyes are flitting

J.A. Hamilton, Glasgow.

Not another Spring poem! I'm afraid it is another example of what must be the most common theme in poetry over the years. Compare it to another on Spring by M. J. Kearns in the Sligo Nationalist a few months earlier.

This is a lively celebration of Spring by a poet who had lived in Sligo until 1914 when the family moved to Glasgow. Its liveliness and freshness are mainly attributable to its use of an unusual metre, t
rochaic tetrameter.

Tetrameter means that there are four feet in each, or most, lines. Each foot is a trochee, a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed, or weak, syllable. A trochee is the opposite of the far more usual iamb which follows the pattern weak followed by stressed. The rhythm of spoken English is naturally iambic.

of the best-known examples of trochaic tetrameter is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha.

The rhyming couplets also add to the liveliness of the poem and the rhymes in general are full and simple. Finite/climate does seem a little stretched though.

It's interesting to compare this poem with two others by Hamilton on the same general theme published in the Sligo Times in 1912. Those are full of archaic language, thou, thee, oft, shall, wilt (for will), o'er. The language in "Spring" thankfully is completely free from any such mannerisms.

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