On hill and field October’s glories fade;
O’er hill and field the blackbirds southward fly;
The brown leaves rustle down tbe forest glade,
Where naked branches make a fitful shade,
And the last blooms of Autumn withered lie.
The berries on the hedgerow ripen well—
Holly and cedar, burniug-bush and brier;
The partridge drums in some half-hidden dell,
Where all the ground is gemmed with leaves that fell
Last storm from the tall maple’s crown of fire.
The chirp of crickets and the hum of bees
Come faintly up from marsh and meadow-land,
Where reeds and rushes whisper in the breeze,
And sunbeams slant between the moss-grown trees,
Green on the grass and golden on the sand.
From many a tree whose tangled boughs are hare
Lean the rich clusters of the clambering vine:
October’s mellow hazes dim the air
Along the uplands and the valley, where
The distant steeples of the village shine.
Adown the brook the dead leaves whirling go;
Above the brook the scarlet sumacs^ burn;
The lonely heron sounds his note of woe
In gloomy forest-swamps, where rankly grow
The crimson cardinal and feathery fern.
Autumn is sad: a cold blue horizon
Darkly encircles checkered fields and farms,
Where late the gold of ripening harvests shone;
But bearded grain and fragrant hay are gone,
And Autumn mourns the loss of Summer’s charms.
Yet, though our Summers change and pass away—
Though dies the beauty of the hill and plain—
Though warmth and color fade with every day—
Hope passes not, and something seems to say
That all our hrightest joys shall come again.
And if the flowers we nurture with such care
Must wither, though bedewed with many tears,
They shall arise in some diviner air,
To bloom again, more fragrant and more fair,
And gladden us through all the coming years.
The sun sinks slowly toward the far-off west
The breeze is freshening from the far-off shore:
So come, fair eve, and bring each weary breast
That sense of tranquil joy, of gentle rest,
Felt in the happy Autumns gone before!
© George Arnold