Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

Autumn - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

Thou comest not in sober guise,
In mellow cloak of russet clad—
Thine are no melancholy skies,
Nor hueless flowers pale and sad;
But, like an emperor, triumphing,
With gorgeous robes of Tyrian dyes,
Full flush of fragrant blossoming,
And glowing purple canopies.
How call ye this the season's fall,
That seems the pageant of the year,
Richer and brighter far than all
The pomp that spring and summer wear?
Red falls the westering light of day
On rock and stream and winding shore;
Soft woody banks and granite gray
With amber clouds are curtained o'er;
The wide clear waters sleeping lie
Beneath the evening's wings of gold,
And on their glassy breast the sky
And banks their mingled hues unfold.

Far in the tangled woods, the ground
Is strewn with fallen leaves, that lie
Like crimson carpets all around
Beneath a crimson canopy.
The sloping sun with arrows bright
Pierces the forest's waving maze;
The universe seems wrapt in light,—
A floating robe of rosy haze.
O Autumn! thou art here a king;
And round thy throne the smiling hours
A thousand fragrant tributes bring
Of golden fruits and blushing flowers.

Oh! not upon thy fading fields and fells
In such rich garb doth Autumn come to thee,
My home!—but o'er thy mountains and thy dells
His footsteps fall slowly and solemnly,
Nor flower nor bud remaineth there to him,
Save the faint-breathing rose, that, round the year,
Its crimson buds and pale soft blossoms dim,
In lowly beauty constantly doth wear.
O'er yellow stubble lands, in mantle brown,
He wanders through the wan October light;
Still as he goeth, slowly stripping down
The garlands green that were the spring's delight.
At morn and eve thin silver vapours rise
Around his path; but sometimes at mid-day
He looks along the hills with gentle eyes,
That make the sallow woods and fields seem gay.

Yet something of sad sov'reignty he hath—
A sceptre crown'd with berries ruby red;
And the cold sobbing wind bestrews his path
With wither'd leaves that rustle 'neath his tread;
And round him still, in melancholy state,
Sweet solemn thoughts of death and of decay,
In slow and hush'd attendance, ever wait,
Telling how all things fair must pass away.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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