In September.

Where lurk the merry elves of autumn now,1
In this bright breezy month of equinox ?2
Among tanned bracken on the mountain’s brow ?3
Or deep in heather tufted round white rocks4
On a wild moor, where heathbells wither slow,5
Twined with late-blooming furze—a home of grouse ?6
By river alders ?  Or on stubbly plains ?7
Bound not their kingdom so :8
They follow Beauty’s train—of all her house9
Gay pensioners till not one leaf remains.10
The splendour of the year is not yet dead :11
After cold showers the sun shines hotly still12
To dry the grass and kiss the trembling head13
Of each wind-shaken harebell on the hill.14
Then joys the eye to ramble far and wide15
Through all the fleecy circles of the sky ;16
Broad silverous beams fair slant from southern clouds,17
Where sunlight seems to hide ;18
A rainbow spans the vale’s blue mystery,19
Whence routed mists troop gloomily,crowds on crowds.20
Heaven hath its symphonies ! What tones combine21
To swell the cadenced chords of luminous gray22
That change upon the abysmal hyaline,23
Whose glimpses sweet throb to the azure play24
Of an ethereal melody—tender as eyes25
That shine through tears of unrequited love26
Pure as the petals of forget-me-nots !27
Such unheard harmonies,28
The deaf ears of Beethoven smote from above29
Through vision—filled with heaven his inky blots.30
As Ceres when she sought her Proserpine31
Slow moved, majestically sad—a wreath32
Of funeral flowers above those eyes divine33
The widowed year draws ripely to its death.34
The moist air swoons in stillèd sultriness35
Between the gales ; save when a boding sigh36
Shivers the crisp and many-hued tree-tops,37
Or a low breeze’s stress38
Wakes the sere whispers of fallen leaves that lie39
Breathing a dying odour through the copse.40
A few pale flowers of summer linger late41
For languid butterflies, wind-tost, that leave42
Their garden asters, tempted to their fate43
By the wild bees ; stray blooms of woodbine grieve44
On their close-twisted stems in brambly dells45
Haunt of the cottage-children’s much delight46
On sunny afternoons ; by hedge and stream47
Tremble the delicate bells48
Of bindweed, bridelike with its wreath of white49
Moving things withering of new springs to dream.50
Soon the last field is gleaned, safe harvested51
The tardiest-ripening grain, and all the dale52
Made glad with far-seen stacks ; barn floors are spread53
With golden sheaves, sport of the clanging flail ;54
In sunny orchards the mossed apple-trees55
Bend with their ruddy load, and wasp-gnawn pears56
Tumble at every gust ; the berried lanes57
Blush with their bright increase ;58
Brown acorns rustle down ; and in their lairs59
Neat-handed squirrels hoard their daintiest gains.60
So the month wanes, till the new-risen moon61
Shines on chill torpor of white mist, stretched o’er62
Low-lying pastures—like a weird lagune63
In a dim land of ghosts ; and evermore64
Through the sad wood the wind sighs wailfully,65
And great owls hoot from boughs left desolate66
When first the morn finds skeleton leaves made fair67
With frosted tracery.68
And then must all things frail yield to their fate69
October strikes the chord of their despair !70