The pale descending Year, yet pleasing still, A gentler Mood inspires; for now the Leaf Incessant rustles from the mournful Grove, Oft startling such as, studious, walk below, And slowly circles thro' the waving Air.
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof, there thou may'st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe; And all the daughters of the year shall dance! Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes. . . .
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core.
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer, Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned, And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down By the wayside a-weary.
The year is getting to feel rich, for his golden fruits are ripening fast, and he has a large balance in the barns, which are his banks. The members of his family have found out that he is well to do in the world. September is dressing herself in show of dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.
The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy Autumn-fields, And thinking of the days that are no more.
Coldly, sadly, descends The autumn-evening. The field Strewn with its dank yellow drifts Of wither'd leaves, and the elms Fade into dimness apace, Silent;--hardly a shout From a few boys late in their play!
Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods, And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt, And night by night the monitory blast Wails in the key-hole, telling how it pass'd O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes, Or grim wide wave; and now the power is felt Of melancholy, tenderer in its moods
Than any joy indulgent Summer dealt.
This was one of those perfect New England days in late summer where the spirit of autumn takes a first stealthy flight, like a spy, through the ripening country-side, and, with feigned sympathy for those who droop with August heat, puts her cool cloak of bracing air about leaf and flower and human shoulders.
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days Is a pictur' that no painter has the
colorin' to mock--When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
It almost seems as if autumn were the true creator, more creative than the spring, which is too even-toned, more creative when it comes with its will-to-change and shatters the much too ready-made, self-satisfied and really almost bourgeois-complacent image of summer.
There comes a morning, always, at this time of year when one awakes to the realisation that one's knees and the tip of one's nose are unexpectedly cold, and, still drowsy, scrabbles to regain the blankets one had flung off during the earlier part of the night; then, aroused to full consciousness, leaps from bed to gaze out of the window. What has happened? The familiar summer aspect has changed.