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Fall Poems

Introduction to a Collection of Fall Poems

The changing of the seasons breathes new life into us. What a beautiful part of the human experience! We love to ponder and write about the seasons. Collected here are some of the finest poems that have been written about fall. For your convenience, a few recommendations have been listed below. For instance, if you're looking for fall poems for kids, try Susan Coolidge's How the Leaves Came Down. For a short fall poem, you might like Autumn by Emily Dickinson. A good long fall poem is John Greenleaf Whittier's The Corn Song, (don't worry, it's not toooo long). And for a famous fall poem, try William Blake's To Autumn. Below is a more complete, categorized list of suggestions. You can use the "Type to Filter" search box to find a selection of interest.

Fall Poems for Kids

  • How the Leaves Came Down by Susan Coolidge
  • An Autumn Moving by Anonymous
  • Autumn by Emily Dickinson
  • Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Popping Corn by Anonymous
  • The Wind And The Leaves by George Cooper
  • October's Party by George Cooper

Short Fall Poems

  • Autumn by Emily Dickinson
  • Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Popping Corn by Anonymous
  • Autumn by John Clare
  • A Vagabond Song by Bliss Carman
  • Autumn Song by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Funny Fall Poems

  • An Autumn Moving by Anonymous
  • When the Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley

Long Fall Poems

  • September by George Arnold
  • The Corn Song by John Greenleaf Whittier
  • The Pumpkin by John Greenleaf Whittier
  • How the Leaves Came Down by Susan Coolidge

Famous Fall Poems

  • To Autumn by William Blake
  • To Autumn by John Keats
  • October by Robert Frost
  • Autumn Birds by John Clare
  • Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Corn Song by John Greenleaf Whittier
  • A Vagabond Song by Bliss Carman
  • Autumn Song by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Type to Filter Poems:


Fall Colors

Tip: Click on "Full Text" on the selections below to see read the entire poem. Poems are not numbered in a particular order.

1

Autumn Tints

November Mosaic
November Mosaic
by Willard Metcalf
by Mathilde Blind. In this poem about Autumn, German-born British poet Mathilde Blind writes about the changing seasons and the beauty of fall fall colors.

Coral-coloured yew-berries
Strew the garden ways,
Hollyhocks and sunflowers
Make a dazzling blaze
In these latter days.

Marigolds by cottage doors
Flaunt their golden pride,
Crimson-punctured bramble leaves
Dapple far and wide
The green mountain-side....

Far away, on hilly slopes
Where fleet rivulets run,
Miles on miles of tangled fern,
Burnished by the sun,
Glow a copper dun.

For the year that's on the wane,
Gathering all its fire,
Flares up through the kindling world
As, ere they expire,
Flames leap high and higher.

2

An Autumn Moving

by Anonymous. One of the more humorous fall poems, An Autumn Moving light-heartedly tells us about the different seasonal colors that move into and out of the neighborhood.

The Browns are coming back to town;
The Greens are moving away.
'Twill make a striking difference
In our neighhorhood they say;
For the Greens are jolly, cheery folk,
The Browns are rather sad,
A dull and sombre family,
While the Greens are always glad.
I'm very fond of all the Greens,
From little Greens to big;
I like to see them dancing by
As merry as a grig.
And yet I think I'm going to like
The Browns's sober style;
After the riot of the Greens
'Twill rest us for a while.
And I've a notion that some week
Of windy, frosty nights,
The Browns in turn will go away,
And in will move the Whites!

3

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,

Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

4

Autumn Song

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?


The Changing Seasons

5

Autumn

by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

6

A Song of Early Autumn

Herbstliche Waldlandschaft mit Gewässer
by Bruno Moras
by Richard Watson Gilder. Gilder's beautiful descriptions of fall colors, fall leaves, and the changing seasons makes this piece right at home with other fall poems of merit.

When late in summer the streams run yellow,
Burst the bridges and spread into bays;
When berries are black and peaches are mellow,
And hills are hidden by rainy haze;

When the goldenrod is golden still,
But the heart of the sunflower is darker and sadder;
When the corn is in stacks on the slope of the hill,
And slides o'er the path the striped adder;

When butterflies flutter from clover to thicket,
Or wave their wings on the drooping leaf;
When the breeze comes shrill with the call of the cricket,
Grasshopper's rasp, and rustle of sheaf;...

When high in the field the fern-leaves wrinkle,
And brown is the grass where the mowers have mown;
When low in the meadow the cow-bells tinkle,
And small brooks crinkle o'er stock and stone;

When heavy and hollow the robin's whistle
And shadows are deep in the heat of noon;
When the air is white with the down o' the thistle,
And the sky is red with the harvest moon;

O, then be chary, young Robert and Mary,
No time let slip, not a moment wait!
If the fiddle would play it must stop its tuning;
And they who would wed must be done with their mooning;
So let the churn rattle, see well to the cattle,
And pile the wood by the barn-yard gate!

7

Autumn Fires

by Robert Louis Stevenson.

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

8

Autumn

Autumn...she is tranquil, deeply quiet,
With a graceful, even moving;

– Ruby Archer
Autumn
by Ruby Archer

When, I wonder, shall I meet her,
As I wander through the woodland,
Meet the pensive maiden Autumn,
With the eyes that look afar?
I would welcome her and greet her,
Gladly turn to her from Summer,
As we leave the garish daylight
For a single pallid star.

She is tranquil, deeply quiet,
With a graceful, even moving;
And a benison of silence
Falls about her where she goes.
Wanton Summer was a-riot
With impassioned song and blossom,
Gay with glory, heartless ever,
With a thorn for every rose.

I shall meet the Autumn maiden—
Here are signs that she is near me:
On the hills a gauzy azure
From her veil in gliding by;
And her golden-rod is laden—
Yellow plumes of starry masses—
And the white, the purple asters
For her coming footfall sigh.

Yet I feel a half regretting
For that lavish June-time sunlight,
Every hour attuned to warbling,
And with bee and blossom rife.—
Hie away, and speed forgetting!
I will seek my Autumn maiden.
Wayward Summer is our dreaming;
Sober Autumn—is our life.

9

Autumn: A Dirge

Evening Glow
by John Atkinson Grimshaw
by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here, Shelley writes a somber autumn poem about the fall months.

The warm sun is falling, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
And the Year
On the earth is her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
Is lying.
Come, Months, come away,
From November to May,
In your saddest array;
Follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre....

The chill rain is falling, the nipped worm is crawling,
The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling
For the Year;
The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
To his dwelling.
Come, Months, come away;
Put on white, black and gray;
Let your light sisters play—
Ye, follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And make her grave green with tear on tear.

10

Autumn Thoughts

I said to Earth, so cold and gray,
'An emblem of myself thou art.'

– Autumn Thoughts
John Greenleaf Whittier
by John Greenleaf Whittier

Gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers,
And gone the Summer's pomp and show,
And Autumn, in his leafless bowers,
Is waiting for the Winter's snow.

I said to Earth, so cold and gray,
'An emblem of myself thou art.'
'Not so,' the Earth did seem to say,
'For Spring shall warm my frozen heart.'
I soothe my wintry sleep with dreams
Of warmer sun and softer rain,
And wait to hear the sound of streams
And songs of merry birds again....

But thou, from whom the Spring hath gone,
For whom the flowers no longer blow,
Who standest blighted and forlorn,
Like Autumn waiting for the snow;

No hope is thine of sunnier hours,
Thy Winter shall no more depart;
No Spring revive thy wasted flowers,
Nor Summer warm thy frozen heart.

11

Indian Summer

Indian Summer, Vermont
by Willard Metcalf
by Emily Dickinson. An Indian summer is a period of warm weather feeling like summer that occurs in autumn, usually after there has already been a plant killing frost. Emily Dickinson describes the condition in this poem about fall.

These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, —
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,

Till ranks of seed their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,

Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

12

The Indian Summer

by John Brainard

What is there sadd'ning in the Autumn leaves?
Have they that "green and yellow melancholy"
That the sweet poet spake of? Had he seen
Our variegated woods, when first the frost
Turns into beauty all October's charms—
When the dread fever quits us—when the storms
Of the wild Equinox, with all its wet,
Has left the land, as the first deluge left it,
With a bright bow of many colours hung
Upon the forest tops—he had not sigh'd.

The moon stays longest for the Hunter now:
The trees cast down their fruitage, and the blithe
And busy squirrel hoards his winter store:
While man enjoys the breeze that sweeps along
The bright blue sky above him, and that bends
Magnificently all the forest's pride,
Or whispers through the evergreens, and asks,
"What is there sadd'ning in the Autumn leaves?"

13

Autumn

by Bliss Carman

Now when the time of fruit and grain is come
When apples hang above the orchard wall,
And from the tangle by the roadside stream
A scent of wild grapes fills the racy air,
Comes Autumn with her sunburnt caravan,
Like a long gypsy train with trappings gay
And tattered colors of the Orient,
Moving slow-footed through the dreamy hills.
The woods of Wilton at her coming wear
Tints of Bokhara and of Samarcand;
The maples glow with their Pompeian red,
The hickories with burnt Etruscan gold;
And while the crickets fife along her march,
Behind her banners burns the crimson sun.

14

Autumn

by Adelaide Crapsey

Fugitive, wistful,
Pausing at edge of her going,
Autumn the maiden turns,
Leans to the earth with ineffable
Gesture. Ah, more than
Spring's skies her skies shine
Tender, and frailer
Bloom than plum-bloom or almond
Lies on her hillsides, her fields

Misted, faint-flushing. Ah, lovelier
Is her refusal than
Yielding, who pauses with grave
Backward smiling, with light
Unforgettable touch of
Fingers withdrawn…Pauses, lo
Vanishes…fugitive, wistful…

15

Merry Autumn

by Laurence Dunbar

It's all a farce, — these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o'er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.

Such principles are most absurd, —
I care not who first taught 'em;
There's nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.

In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You'll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.

Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e'en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.

The seed burrs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.

A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o'er with laughter.

The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.

The earth is just so full of fun
It really can't contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.

Don't talk to me of solemn days
In autumn's time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.

Why, it's the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.

16

Autumn

by Thomas Hood

The autumn is old;
The sear leaves are flying;
He hath gathered up gold
And now he is dying:
Old age, begin sighing!

The vintage is ripe; The harvest is heaping; But some that have sowed Have no riches for reaping:— Poor wretch, fall a-weeping!

The year's in the wane;
There is nothing adorning;
The night has no eve,
And the day has no morning;
Cold winter gives warning.

The rivers run chill; The red sun is sinking; And I am grown old, And life is fast shrinking; Here's enow for sad thinking!

18

At Home

by Emily Dickinson

The night was wide, and furnished scant
With but a single star,
That often as a cloud it met
Blew out itself for fear.

The wind pursued the little bush,
And drove away the leaves
November left; then clambered up
And fretted in the eaves.

No squirrel went abroad;
A dog's belated feet
Like intermittent plush were heard
Adown the empty street.

To feel if blinds be fast,
And closer to the fire
Her little rocking-chair to draw,
And shiver for the poor,

The housewife's gentle task.
"How pleasanter," said she
Unto the sofa opposite,
"The sleet than May — no thee!"

19

The House Where We Were Wed

by Will Carleton

Yellow, mellow, ripened days,
Sheltered in a golden coating;
O'er the dreamy, listless haze,
White and dainty cloudlets floating;
Winking at the blushing trees,
And the sombre, furrowed fallow;
Smiling at the airy ease
Of the southward-flying swallow.
Sweet and smiling are thy ways,
Beauteous, golden, Autumn days!

Shivering, quivering, tearful days,
Fretfully and sadly weeping;
Dreading still, with anxious gaze,
Icy fetters round thee creeping;
O'er the cheerless, withered plain,
Woefully and hoarsely calling;
Pelting hail and drenching rain
On thy scanty vestments falling.
Sad and mournful are thy ways,
Grieving, wailing, Autumn days!

20

Lines for a Picture

by Bliss Carman

When the leaves are flying
Across the azure sky,
Autumn on the hill top
Turns to say good-by;

In her gold-red tunic,
Like an Eastern queen,
With untarnished courage
In her wilding mien.

All the earth below her
Answers to her gaze,
And her eyes are pensive
With remembered days.

Yet, with cheek ensanguined,
Gay at heart she goes
On the great adventure
Where the north wind blows.

21

The Ghost-yard of the Goldenrod

by Bliss Carman

When the first silent frost has trod
The ghost-yard of the goldenrod,

And laid the blight of his cold hand
Upon the warm autumnal land,

And all things wait the subtle change
That men call death, is it not strange

That I —without a care or need,
Who only am an idle weed —

Should wait unmoved, so frail, so bold,
The coming of the final cold!

Fall Activities

22

The End of Wood Cutting

by William Francis Barnard

Red leaf and yellow leaf
Are flaunting through the air;
The paths are rustling underfoot,
The sun is everywhere.
Bright creepers clasp the rugged wood
Of many a hardy tree;
The squirrel stores his winter nuts
And chatters in his glee.
The ripened year is done at last;
The fuel is at home.
One song for joyous seasons past
And happy days to come,
My friends,
And happy days to come!

Come build a fire upon the ground,
And let the wine flow free;
Make smooth a place where we may sit
And raise our revelry.
The sun will hasten to the west,
But we have naught to care:
With meat and drink we need no more,
Save that the night be fair.
Beach wood and chestnut wood;
Make a cheerful blaze.
Forget the bad and praise the good.
Here's joy and many days,
My friends,
Here's joy and many days!

23

Popping Corn

Indian Corn and Mexican Vase
by Cordelia Wilson
by Anonymous. This old favorite among fall poems was featured in the famous McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. A warm and homey classic describing an autumn scene by the hearth, it is a great poem for children.

One autumn night, when the wind was high,
And the rain fell in heavy plashes,
A little boy sat by the kitchen fire,
A-popping corn in the ashes;
And his sister, a curly-haired child of three,
Sat looking on, just close to his knee....

Pop! pop! and the kernels, one by one,
Came out of the embers flying;
The boy held a long pine stick in his hand,
And kept it busily plying;
He stirred the corn, and it snapped the more,
And faster jumped to the clean-swept floor.

Part of the kernels flew one way,
And a part hopped out the other;
Some flew plump into the sister's lap,
Some under the stool of the brother;
The little girl gathered them into a heap,
And called them a flock of milk-white sheep.

Fall Scenery

24

Sunset in Autumn

by Madison Cawein

Blood-coloured oaks, that stand against a sky of gold and brass;
Gaunt slopes, on which the bleak leaves glow of brier and sassafras,
And broom-sedge strips of smoky-pink and pearl—gray clumps of grass
In which, beneath the ragged sky, the rain pools gleam like glass.

From West to East, from wood to wood, along the forest-side,
The winds,—the sowers of the Lord,—with thunderous footsteps stride;
Their stormy hands rain acorns down; and mad leaves, wildly dyed,
Like tatters of their rushing cloaks, stream round them far and wide.

The frail leaf-cricket in the weeds rings a faint fairy bell;
And like a torch of phantom ray the milkweed's windy shell
Glimmers; while, wrapped in withered dreams, the wet autumnal smell
Of loam and leaf, like some sad ghost, steals over field and dell.

The oaks, against a copper sky—o'er which, like some black lake
Of Dis, bronze clouds, like surges fringed with sullen fire, break—
Loom sombre as Doom's citadel above the vales that make
A pathway to a land of mist the moon's pale feet shall take.

Now, dyed with burning carbuncle, a limbo-litten pane,
Within its walls of storm, the West opens to hill and plain,
On which the wild-geese ink themselves, a far triangled train,
And then the shuttering clouds close down—and night is here again.

25

Autumn Birds

Ducks and Other Birds about a Stream in an Italianate Landscape
by Francis Barlov
by John Clare. Clare, a rural Englishman of the 19th century, was an astute observer of nature. He frequently described flora and fauna in vivid detail. This he does once again, in this poem about fall birds.

The wild duck startles like a sudden thought,
And heron slow as if it might be caught.
The flopping crows on weary wings go by
And grey beard jackdaws noising as they fly.
The crowds of starnels whizz and hurry by,
And darken like a clod the evening sky.
The larks like thunder rise and suthy round,
Then drop and nestle in the stubble ground.
The wild swan hurries hight and noises loud
With white neck peering to the evening clowd.
The weary rooks to distant woods are gone.
With lengths of tail the magpie winnows on
To neighbouring tree, and leaves the distant crow
While small birds nestle in the edge below.

26

Autumn

The North Side of Hook Mountainby Sanford Gifford
by John Clare. Clare lends us his characteristically nature-bent eye for the world around him in this fall poem.

The thistledown's flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot. ...

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

27

To Autumn

Spreewald-Idyll mit Kanal und Haus, Personen, Enten und Booten
by H. Mohrmann
by William Blake. A classic among autumn poems, To Autumn by William Blake, has stood the test of time.

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stainèd
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....

`The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

`The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.'
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

28

A Vagabond Song

by Bliss Carman.

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood —
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time....

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

29

To Autumn

by John Keats

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;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
...

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

30

The Fall Wind

by John Stuart Thompson

The wind has stalked adown the garden path,
And blown the lights of all the poor flowers out;
From maple wood I hear his stormy shout;
The russet leaves take flight before his wrath;
In stubble fields and clover-aftermath,
The wreckage of the year is strewn around;
The mottled asters lie upon the ground.
Of all the bloom, the tyrant north wind hath

Left only golden-rod, in saffron rows,—
And these, with bulging cheeks, he blows and blows,
Until they glow, and mingle with the west,
When setting suns lean low upon the land,
And songless birds, in cheerless plumage dressed.
Wing south or somewhere; mute, discouraged band.

31

To Autumn

by Hannah Flagg Gould

By the sorrowfu' look o' the hill an' the glen,
A' stripp'd o' the pride o' the simmer again,
I ken ye hae come wi' your hoarse, rude breath,
And pit the green grass an' sweet flowers a' to death.

Ye wad nae gie a drop o' bright glistenin dew
To soften the spot where the violet grew—
An' drooping an' pale, she has pillow'd her head
Mid your cauld, cauld frost, on her hard death-bed.

The bird wi' her sang, ye hae bidden to flee
Frae the comfortless branch o' the shiverin tree;
While, restless an' harmless, the yellow leaves fly
'Twixt the dool o' the earth and the scowl o' the sky!

Ye hae torn the fond tendrils, that closely wad twine
To baud up their parent the languishin vine,
An', there's nae a sweet thing the mild simmer could cherish,
But your sharp fingers nip, till ye ken it maun perish.

An', when ye hae finished your pitiless doins,
An' the fields are a' scattered wi' death an' wi' ruins,
Cauld winter will come, wi' his snaw an' his sleet,
To hide them frae sight wi' a white windin-sheet.

How mickle to man are misfortune an' grief,
Like yoursel to the earth, when ye part branch an' leaf!
For when the cauld blasts o' adversity blaw,
Every sweet flower o' joy frae his bosom maun fa'.

Wi' care he is wasted, an' weary, an' worn—
The ties o' affection are loosened an' torn,
Till the spark o' his life, 'mid the ruins, will fail,
An' his ashes are gien to the clods o' the vale.

Yet, he may go down in full hope o' the dawn,
Ayont the dark tomb, o' eternity's morn;
Where your stern chillin features nae mair will be seen,
An' the flowers are a' deathless—the fields ever green.

32

Autumn Woods

by William Cullen Bryant

Ere, in the northern gale,
The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
The woods of Autumn, all around our vale
Have put their glory on.

The mountains that infold,
In their wide sweep, the coloured landscape round.
Seem groups of giant kings, in purple and gold,
That guard the enchanted ground.

I roam the woods that crown
The upland, where the mingled splendours glow,
Where the gay company of trees look down
On the green fields below.

My steps are not alone
In these bright walks; the sweet southwest, at play,
Flies, rustling, where the painted leaves are strewn
Along the winding way.

And far in heaven, the while,
The sun, that sends that gale to wander here,
Pours out on the fair earth his quiet smile,—
The sweetest of the year.

Where now the solemn shade,
Verdure and gloom where many branches meet;
So grateful, when the noon of summer made
The valleys sick with heat?

Let in through all the trees
Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright;
Their sunny-coloured foliage, in the breeze,
Twinkles, like beams of light.

The rivulet, late unseen,
Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,
Shines with the image of its golden screen,
And glimmerings of the sun.

But 'neath yon crimson tree,
Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,
Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,
Her blush of maiden shame.

Oh, Autumn! why so soon
Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,
And leave thee wild and sad!

Ah! 'twere a lot too blessed
For ever in thy coloured shades to stray;
Amid the kisses of the soft southwest
To rove and dream for aye;

And leave the vain low strife
That makes men mad—the tug for wealth and power,
The passions and the cares that wither life,
And waste its little hour.

33

Autumn Noon

by George Hill

All was so still that I could almost count
The tinklings of the falling leaves. At times,
Perchance, a nut was heard to drop, and then—
As if it had slipp'd from him as he struck
The meat—a squirrel's short and fretful bark.
Anon, a troop of noisy, roving jays,
Whisking their gaudy topknots, would surprise
And seize upon the top of some tall tree,
Shrieking, as if on purpose to enjoy
The consternation of the noontide stillness.

Roused by the din, the squirrel from his hole,
Like some grave justice bent to keep the peace,
Thrust his gray pate, much wondering what it meant
And squatted near me on a stone, there bask'd
A fly of larger breed and o'ergrown bulk,
In the warm sunshine, vain of his green coat
Of variable velvet laced with gold,
That, ever and anon, would whisk about,
Vexing the stillness with his buzzing din,
As human fopling will do with his talk:
And o'er the mossy post of an old fence,
Lured from its crannies by the warmth, was spied
A swarm of gay motes waltzing to a tune
Of their own humming: quiet sounds, that serve
More deeply to impress us with a sense
Of silent loneliness and trackless ways.

34

"The Dead Leaves Strow the Forest Walk"

by John Brainard

"The dead leaves strow the forest walk,
And wither'd are the pale wild-flowers;
The frost hangs blackening on the stalk,
The dewdrops fall in frozen showers.
Gone are the spring's green sprouting bowers,
Gone summer's rich and mantling vines,
And Autumn, with her yellow hours,
On hill and plain no longer shines.

I learn'd a clear and wild-toned note,
That rose and swell'd from yonder tree.
A gay bird, with too sweet a throat,
There perch'd and raised her song for me.
The winter comes, and where is she?
Away—where summer wings will rove,
Where buds are fresh, and every tree
Is vocal with the notes of love.

Too mild the breath of southern sky,
Too fresh the flower that blushes there,
The northern breeze that rustles by,
Finds leaves too green and buds too fair;
No forest-tree stands stripp'd and bare,
No stream beneath the ice is dead,
No mountain-top, with sleety hair,
Bends o'er the snows its reverend head.

Go there with all the birds, and seek
A happier clime, with livelier flight,
Kiss, with the sun, the evening's cheek,
And leave me lonely with the night.
I'll gaze upon the cold north light,
And mark where all its glories shone—
See!—that it all is fair and bright,
Feel—that it all is cold and gone."

35

Trees in Autumn

by John Jay Chapman

The poets have made Autumn sorrowful;
I find her joyous, radiant, serene.
Her pomp is hung in a deep azure sky
That turns about the world by day and night,
Nor loses its bright charm.
And when the trees resign their foliage,
Loosing their leaves upon the cradling air
As liberally as if they ne'er had owned them,—
They show the richer for the nakedness
That weds them with the clarity of heav'n.

36

Hope and Despair

To me the autumn is never drear,
It bears the glory of hopes fulfilled.

– Arthur Weir
Hope and Despair
by Arthur Weir

You love the sun and the languid breeze
That gently kisses the rosebud's lips,
And delight to see
How the dainty bee,
Stilling his gauze-winged melodies
Into the lily's chalice dips.

I love the wind that unceasing roars,
While cringe the trees from its wrath in vain,
And the lightning-flash,
And the thunder-crash,
And skies, from whose Erebus depths outpours
In slanting drifts the autumnal rain.

You sigh to find that the time is here
When leaves are falling from bush and tree;
When the flowerets sweet
Die beneath our feet,
And feebly totters the dying year
Into the mists of eternity.

To me the autumn is never drear,
It bears the glory of hopes fulfilled.
Though the flowers be dead,
There are seeds instead,
That, with the spring of the dawning year,
With life will find all their being thrilled.

You tread the wood, and the wind behold
Tear down the leaves from the crackling bough
Till they make a pall,
As they thickly fall,
To hide dead flowers. The air seems cold,
No summer gladdens the forest now.

I tread the maze of the changing wood,
And though no light through the maples plays,
Yet they glow each one,
Like a rose-red sun,
And drop their leaves, like a glittering flood
Of warm sunbeams, in the woodland ways.

Poor human heart, in the year of life
All seasons are, and it rests with thee
To enjoy them all,
Or to drape a pall
O'er withered hopes, and to be at strife
With things that are, and no brightness see.

37

Autumn Musings

by George Lunt

Come thou with me! If thou hast worn away
All this most glorious summer in the crowd,
Amid the dust of cities, and the din,
While birds were carolling on every spray;
If, from gray dawn to solemn night's approach,
Thy soul hath wasted all its better thoughts,
Toiling and panting for a little gold;
Drudging amid the very lees of life
For this accursed slave that makes men slaves;
Come thou with me into the pleasant fields,
Let Nature breathe on us and make us free!

For thou shalt hold communion, pure and high,
With the great Spirit of the Universe;
It shall pervade thy soul; it shall renew
The fancies of thy boyhood: thou shalt know
Tears, most unwonted tears dimming thine eyes;
Thou shalt forget, under the old brown oak,
That the good south-wind and the liberal west
Have other tidings than the songs of birds,
Or the soft news wafted from fragrant flowers.
Look out on Nature's face, and what hath she
In common with thy feelings? That brown hill,
Upon whose sides, from the gray mountain ash,
We gather'd crimson berries, look'd as brown
When the leaves fell twelve autumn suns ago;
This pleasant stream, with the well-shaded verge,
On whose fair surface have our buoyant limbs
So often play'd, caressing and caress'd;
Its verdant banks are green as then they were,
So went its bubbling murmur down the tide.
Yes, and the very trees, those ancient oaks,
The crimson-crested maple, feathery elm,
And fair, smooth ash, with leaves of graceful gold,
Look like familiar faces of old friends.

From their broad branches drop the wither'd leaves
Drop, one by one, without a single breath,
Save when some eddying curl round the old roots
Twirls them about in merry sport a while.
They are not changed; their office is not done;
The first soft breeze of spring shall see them fresh
With sprouting twigs bursting from every branch,
As should fresh feelings from our wither'd hearts.
Scorn not the moral; for, while these have warm'd
To annual beauty, gladdening the fields
With new and ever-glorious garniture,
Thou hast grown worn and wasted, almost gray
Even in thy very summer. 'Tis for this
We have neglected nature! Wearing out
Our hearts and all life's dearest charities
In the perpetual turmoil, when we need
To strengthen and to purify our minds
Amid the venerable woods; to hold
Chaste converse with the fountains and the winds!
So should we elevate our souls; so be
Ready to stand and act a nobler part
In the hard, heartless struggles of the world.

Day wanes; 'tis autumn eventide again;
And, sinking on the blue hills' breast, the sun
Spreads the large bounty of his level blaze,
Lengthening the shades of mountains and tall trees,
And throwing blacker shadows o'er the sheet
Of this dark stream, in whose unruffled tide
Waver the bank-shrub and the graceful elm,
As the gay branches and their trembling leaves
Catch the soft whisper of the coming air:
So doth it mirror every passing cloud,
And those which fill the chambers of the west
With such strange beauty, fairer than all thrones,
Blazon'd with orient gems and barbarous gold.
I see thy full heart gathering in thine eyes:
I see those eyes swelling with precious tears;
But, if thou couldst have look'd upon this scene
With a cold brow, and then turn'd back to thoughts
Of traffic in thy fellow's wretchedness,
Thou wert not fit to gaze upon the face
Of Nature's naked beauty; most unfit
To look on fairer things, the loveliness
Of earth's most lovely daughters, whose glad forms
And glancing eyes do kindle the great souls
Of better men to emulate pure thoughts,
And, in high action, all ennobling deeds.

But lo! the harvest moon! She climbs as fair
Among the cluster'd jewels of the sky,
As, mid the rosy bowers of paradise,
Her soft light, trembling upon leaf and flower,
Smiled o'er the slumbers of the first-born man.
And, while her beauty is upon our hearts,
Now let us seek our quiet home, that sleep
May come without bad dreams; may come as light
As to that yellow-headed cottage-boy,
Whose serious musings, as he homeward drives
His sober herd, are of the frosty dawn,
And the ripe nuts which his own hand shall pluck.
Then, when the bird, high-courier of the morn,
Looks from his airy vantage o'er the world,
And, by the music of his mounting flight,
Tells many blessed things of gushing gold,
Coming in floods o'er the eastern wave,
Will we arise, and our pure orisons
Shall keep us in the trials of the day.

The yellow leaf, from the shivering tree,
On Autumn's blast is flying;

– Hannah Flagg Gould
The Musical Box

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