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(11 July 1842 - 7 June 1911 / Kingston, NY)

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Autumn Ballad

How mild and fair the day, dear love! and in these garden ways
The lingering dahlias to the sun their hopeless faces raise.
The buckwheat and the barley, once so bonny and so blithe,
Fall before the rhythmic labor of the cradler's gleaming scythe.

Behold the grapes and all the fruits that Autumn gives today,
As robed in red and gold, she rules, the Empress of Decay!
Out to the orchard come with me, among the apple trees;
No dragon guards the laden boughs of our Hesperides.

This golden pear, my darling, that I hold up to your mouth,
Is a hanging-nest of sweetness; but the birds are winging south.
The purses of the chestnuts, by the chilly-fingered Frost,
Were opened in his frolic, and their triple hoards are lost.

Last night you heard the tempest, love-the wind-entangled pines,
The spraying waves, the sobbing sky that lowered in gloomy lines;
The storm was like a hopeless soul, that stood beside the sea,
And wept in dismal rain and moaned for what could never be

Submitted: Thursday, April 26, 2012


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