Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Autumnal Nightfall


Round Autumn's mouldering urn
Loud mourns the chill and cheerless gale,
When nightfall shades the quiet vale
And stars in beauty burn.

'Tis the year's eventide.
The wind, like one that sighs in pain
O?er joys that ne'er will bloom again
Mourns on the far hillside.

And yet my pensive eye
Rests on the faint blue mountain long;
And for the fairy-land of song,
That lies beyond, I sigh.

The moon unveils her brow;
In the mid-sky her urn glows bright,
And in her sad and mellowing light
The valley sleeps below.

Upon the hazel gray
The lyre of Autumn hangs unstrung
And o?er its tremulous chords are flung
The fringes of decay.

I stand deep musing here,
Beneath the dark and motionless beech,
Whilst wandering winds of nightfall reach
My melancholy ear.

The air breathes chill and free:
A spirit in soft music calls
From Autumn's gray and moss-grown halls,
And round her withered tree.

The hoar and mantled oak,
With moss and twisted ivy brown,
Bends in its lifeless beauty down
Where weeds the fountain choke.

That fountain's hollow voice
Echoes the sound of precious things;
Of early feeling's tuneful springs
Choked with our blighted joys.

Leaves, that the night-wind bears
To earth's cold bosom with a sign,
Are types of our mortality,
And of our fading years.

The tree that shades the plain,
Wasting and hoar as time decays,
Spring shall renew with cheerful days,--
But not my joys again.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Edited: Friday, February 03, 2012

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