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Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney

(1791-1865 / the United States)

Autumn


Tree! why hast thou doffed thy mantle of green
For the gorgeous grab of an Indian queen?
With the timbered brown, and the crimson stain,
And the yellow fringe on its broidered train?
And the autumn gale through its branches sighed
Of a long arrear, for the transient pride.

Stream! why is thy rushing step delayed?
Thy tuneful talk to the pebbles staid?
Hath the Spoiler found thee who wrecks the plains?
Didst thou trifle with him till he chilled thy veins?
But it murmured on with a mournful tone
Till fetters of ice were around it thrown.

Rose! why art thou drooping thy beautiful head?
Hast thou bowed to the frost-king's kiss of dread?
When thou sawest his deeds in the withering vale,
Didst thou, lingering, list to his varnished tale?
And she answered not, but strove to fold
In her bosom the blight of his dalliance bold.

Yet ye still have a voice to the musing heart,
Tree, Stream and Rose, as ye sadly part,
'We are symbols, ye say, of the hasting doom
Of youth, and of health, and of beauty's bloom,
When Disease, with a hectic flush doth glow,
And Time steal on with his trees of snow'

Is this all?-is your painful lesson done?
And they spoke in their bitterness, every one,
'The soul that admits in an evil hour,
The breath of vice to its sacred bower,
Will find its peace with its glory die,
Like the fading hues of an autumn sky.'

Submitted: Saturday, September 25, 2010

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