BETA

An Autumn Walk.

I.

Sweet is the smile of the vernal morn,1
When upon zephyr’s wing is borne2
The breath of the opening flowers, and skies3
Day after day to the gazer’s sight4
Expand a thousand fairy dyes,5
More softly pure, more serenely bright ;6
When Ocean lulls his foamy roar,7
To tell that the boreal storms are o’er ;8
While naked boughs put on their green ;9
And morning listens the early lark ; 10
And the snowdrop, like a spirit, is seen11
Peeping up from earth’s caverns dark : —12
Oh, then is the season of hope—the heart13
Feels of the universe a part ;14
The blooming flowers—the budding trees15
The brightening sun—the tender sky16
The singing birds, and the humming bees17
Speak they not all to the ear or eye18
To say, after darkness, and cold, and rain,19
Come loveliness, warmth, and life again !20

II.

Nor glorious less is the summer noon,21
When, from its azure zenith, June22
Looks on the beautiful earth, to spread23
A darkening shadow beneath the bowers,24
And the boughs of the chestnut overhead25
Are spangled over with gorgeous flowers ;26
When the trout leaps up from the tepid stream ;27
And the cattle, from the hot day-beam,28
Take to the shelter of cooling groves,29
Where, ’ mid the pillar’d emerald gloom,30
From tree to tree the cushat roves,31
And unseen flowers the air perfume : —32
Then to the loiterer of the fields33
A source of enduring joy it yields,34
To pause amid the pastures green,35
And hearken a thousand notes that fill36
The air with music from throats unseen37
A long, loud song of praise, until38
The bosom’s cares are subdued to rest,39
And a holy calm pervades the breast.40

III.

How should the seasons the heart employ ?41
To Spring give hope, and to Summer joy ;42
But to Autumn belongs majestic thought43
The shadows of Time and Eternity,44
Like visions before the eye are brought45
From her yellow woods and her changing sky :46
Thou, Autumn, now art around my way,47
As lonely thus abroad I stray,48
While the afternoon melts into eve49
Alas ! how rapidly day is done ! —50
And clouds of a thousand colours weave51
Their glories around the setting sun.52
All nature seems bathed in a tender grief ;53
There is a red-brown tint on the leaf,54
That proclaims of desolation blank ;55
And the flowers that erewhile bloom’d so fair,56
Now, seeding, wither along the bank,57
Sered by the chill of the alter’d air :58
The aspect of all things seems to say59
Man like the seasons shall pass away !60

IV.

October, my moralist thou shalt be61
Shake down thy fragile leaves from the tree ;62
Pour out thy tears from the sullen cloud ;63
And, while the gleaner forsakes the field,64
Let the winds of evening, piping loud,65
A chorus sad to the partridge yield.66
What saith the river that rushes down67
From its nursing mountains, foamy and brown ?68
It tells of tempest—of sleet and rain69
Of summer past and of winter near,70
Of glories that shall not revive again,71
Until a new life re-illume the year : —72
Of the shortening and the lengthening night ;73
Of departed sunshine ; and beauty’s blight ;74
Omens of death and of pale decay75
Types of destruction’s impending gloom76
Flitting o’er man on life’s thorny way,77
And pointing alike to his goal—the tomb ;78
For, when finishes Age’s childlike reign,79
No second boyhood comes round again !80

V.

Thus to my soul—in my lonely walks81
Of contemplation—Autumn talks :82
The red-breast, as it hops along,83
Like a restless spirit, from bough to bough,84
Seems warning me, with its dirge-like song,85
Of the changes that waft upon all below !86
Speaks not the hollow-sounding sea. 87
Of what hath been—and no more shall be !88
Of days that are past—of friendships gone ;89
Of visions whose glory made boyhood bright !90
Of pleasures flown—for ever flown91
Of hopes that shone, but to set in night !92
The fading flower and the falling leaf,93
Do they not emblem that life is brief ?94
’Tis not in beauty—they seem to say95
From year to year to retain its glow ;96
’Tis not in strength to resist decay97
All is doom’d to the dust below98
The meek and the mighty—the free and the slave99
The rich and the poor—the coward and brave,— 100
The young and the old, meet they not in the grave?101