Autumn’s Alchemy.

Pensive Autumn, sadly sweet,1
How thou dost thyself repeat ;2
Regularly coming round,3
With the self-same garland bound.4
What an alchemist art thou !5
Verdant was the woodland ; now6
Every morning we behold7
Bronze transmuted into gold.8
Oh, thy Midas-touch forbear,9
And what ’s left of greenness spare ;10
Else thou shalt have more, by much,11
Than thy miser hand can clutch !12
Talk we not of ‘ Christmas trees ;’13
What can grander be than these ?14
Hung all o’er with golden coins,15
Which the thievish gale purloins.16
Victims of the year’s caprice,17
Leaves, your fleeting life must cease ;18
Ye unto that mother’s lap19
Falling, whence ye drank your sap.20
Ye like dolphins die, retaining21
Your best tints, till life be waning ;22
Trembling, ere ye drop beneath,23
As at the approach of death.24
Yet the trees, whereto ye cling25
Desperately, will in spring26
Brave in new apparel shew,27
Which the sun will open throw.28
My leaf also owns decay,29
Fading, surely, day by day ;30
Oh, let it, while changing hue,31
But transfigured be, like you,32
’Neath the autumnal touch of time,33
And affliction’s frosty rime,34
Lose each grosser earthly stain,35
And a tinge of glory gain :36
Then, although it shortly fall,37
Sharing Nature’s funeral,38
I shall, in a fairer scene,39
Flourish in perennial green.40