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Ode to Autumn

1333

Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,-
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the mossed elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!

Where is the Dryad's immortality?-
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through

In the smooth holly's green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplished hoard,
The ants have brimmed their garners with ripe grain,

And honey bees have stored
The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have winged across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,

And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.

Alone, alone,

Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone,
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the withered world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drowned past
In the hushed mind's mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;-
There is enough of withered everywhere
To make her bower,-and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty's,-she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,-
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;

Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

Thomas Hood (1799–1845]

ODE TO THE WEST WIND

I

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! O thou

Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,

Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)

With living hues and odors plain and hill;

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, O hear!

II

Thou on whose stream, ʼmid the steep sky's commotion,

Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning! there are spread On the blue surface of thine airy surge,

Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge

Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Ode to the West Wind

1335

Of the dying year, to which this closing night Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,

Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!

III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams

The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiæe's bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers

Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers

So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear

The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;

If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free Than thou, O uncontrollable! if even

I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,

As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision-I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
O! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!

I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee—tameless, and swift, and proud.

v

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:

What if my leaves are falling like its own?
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,

My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe,

Like withered leaves, to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? .

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822]

AUTUMN: A DIRGE
The warm sun is failing; the bleak wind is wailing;
The bare boughs are sighing; the pale flowers are dying;

And the Year
On the earth, 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.

Autumn Tints

1337

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.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

AUTUMN

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.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

AUTUMN TINTS

CORAL-COLORED 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.

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