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AUTUMN WOODS.

87

AUTUMN WOODS.

ERE, in the northern gale,
The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
The woods of autumn, all around our vale,

Have put their glory on.

The mountains that infold
In their wide sweep the coloured landscape round,
Seem groups of giant kings in purple and gold,

That guard the enchanted ground.

I roam the woods that crown
The upland, where the mingled splendours glow,
Where the gay company of trees look down

On the green fields below,

My steps are not alone
In these bright walks; the sweet southwest at play
Flies, rustling, where the painted leaves are strown

Along the winding way.

And far in heaven, the while,
The sun, that sends that gale to wander here,
Pours out on the fair earth his quiet smile,-

The sweetest of the year.

Where now the solemn shade,
Verdure and gloom where many branches meet;
So grateful, when the noon of summer made

The valleys sick with heat?

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AUTUMN WOODS.

Let in through all the trees
Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright;
Their sunny-coloured foliage in the breeze

Twinkles, like beams of light.

The rivulet, late unseen,
Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,
Shines with the image of its golden screen,

And glimmerings of the sun.

But ’neath yon crimson tree,
Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,
Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,

Her blush of maiden shame.

Oh, Autumn! why so soon
Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,

And leave thee wild and sad!

Ah, 'twere a lot too blest
For ever in thy coloured shades to stray,
Amidst the kisses of the soft south-west

To rove and dream for aye;

And leave the vain low strife,
That makes men mad—the tug for wealth and power,
The passions and the cares that wither life,
And waste its little hour.

William Cullen Bryant.

ODE TO AUTUMN.

89

ODE TO AUTUMN.

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge, nor solitary thorn;
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,

Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds ?-Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,

Lest owls should prey

Undazzled at noon-day,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer?--In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatch'd from her flow'rs

To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,-the green prime,-
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the moss'd elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling, -and one upon the old oak tree!

Where is the Dryad's immortality?-
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through

In the smooth holly's green eternity.

90

ODE TO AUTUMN.

The squirrel gloats o'er his accomplish'd hoard,
The ants have brimm'd their garners with ripe grain,

And honey bees have stored
The sweets of summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have wing'd across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,

And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.

Alone, alone,

Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone,
With the last leaves for a love-rosary;
Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drownëd past
In the hush'd mind's mysterious far-away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, grey upon the grey.

O

go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair;
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;-
There is enough of wither'd everywhere
To make her bower,-and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty's,—she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light;
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,-
Enough of chilly droppings from her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

T. Hood.

COME DOWN, O MAID!

91

COME DOWN, O MAID!

COME down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:
What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang)
In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?
But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease
To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,
To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;
And come, for Love is of the valley, come
For Love is of the valley, come thou down
And find him; by the happy threshold, he,
Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize,
Or red with spirted purple of the vats,
Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk
With Death and Morning on the silver horns;
Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine,
Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice,
That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls
To roll the torrent out of dusky doors:
But follow; let the torrent dance thee down
To find him in the valley; let the wild
Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave
The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill
Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke,
That like a broken purpose waste in air :
So waste hot thou; but come; for all the vales
Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth
Arise to thee; the children call, and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

A. Tennyson,

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