Autumn Flowers.

Ye are the Sun’s last favours, gorgeous flowers !1
How, like a Kingly spirit in decline2
He scatters gifts around him royally,3
And stretches forth the hand to make a Sign4
of Blessing, summoning up his fainting powers .5
Ye stand like joyous Revellers, flushed with wine,6
Prest by the swift feet of the glowing hours7
From the Year’s heaped up Vintage, full and free,8
Bright with all hues of crowning luxury.9
The Rose died long ago ; her parting sigh10
Was sweetness, as her living breath had been ;11
And as she passed, up-rising, silently12
They hasted after her that was their Queen,13
A Virgin train to bear her company ;14
But some had gone before ; the Violets muffled15
Their fainting heads among the grass, and sped16
Unmourned, save by the West Wind’s sigh that
Through all their leaves, in search of fragrance fled ;18
And from the field and wild-wood, with the Spring19
Fair flowrets faded, one by one, serene20
Their meek eyes closing in their perishing,21
Like gentle Lives that leave around their place22
The quiet sadness of a vanished grace,23
To mark the spot where loveliness hath been ;24
E’en so they passed until the fragrant Queen25
That rears her sceptre ’mid the Meadows, saw26
She had no Vassals left to wield it o’er,27
And paled her foamy wreaths, drooping for ever-
Ye have not mourned your Sisters, gorgeous
flowers !
No part have ye in tears—that ne’er were prest30
To aching hearts, for linking some bright hour’s31
Fled sweetness with your own, unto the breast ;32
Ye are but prized for beauties seen and known,33
And ne’er were treasured in your fading, kept34
A record of lost Love—when hope hath grown35
As sere as your dead leaflets, oft o’erwept36
By dews that freshen not—for in your dyes37
There lives no language that to Memory’s call38
May breathe an answer, and your starry eyes39
Shine on, but speak not,—Ye are silent all,40
When meaner flowers have told us histories ;41
Broad Dahlias, Fuchsias with your pendent bells,42
Ye may have store of tender chronicles43
A poppy plant with seed heads grows at the center of a dark forest. It is surrounded by foliage. Lily of the valley stretches across the forest floor underneath the poppies. 1/2-page illustration contained within a double-ruled border. The border’s top corners are rounded.
And olden, sweet traditions linked with you,44
In those far distant regions, where with dew45
And sunlight of an equal summer nurst,46
Ye took such sudden splendour at the first ;47
But unto us your looks and names are strange :48
And so the Lover passes you—the Child49
Seeks not to twine you in his garland wild,50
Because ye are not ours !   Ye do not lie51
Familiar in our pathways silently,52
To breathe where we have suffer’d, toil’d, and striven,53
Hints of the long-lost home, the promised Heaven !54
Unloved, unsung, ye bloom and so depart,55
Fair to the eye, not dear unto the heart !56
Yet are ye welcome, gorgeous flowers ! too much57
We shed o’er all the spirit’s colourings,58
And with our inner Being blend the things59
That have deep morals of their own—a touch.60
Of fire hath passed upon you, and your dyes61
Are those that gild the waning woods, and tell62
In the red flashing of Autumnal skies,63
Of Change that glorifies ;— ye grace Farewell64
Until it seems a solemn festival65
At Parting, as ye follow, closing up66
With tributary wealth the Year’s bright spoil67
And crown Earth’s revel, as ye wreathe the cup,68
Filled high and flowing o’er with wine and oil !69