“ 62. [Autumn]1
The yellow forest lies beneath the sun
Quiet, although it suffereth decay
The brooklet to the Ocean-deep does run
With gentle lapse and silent(2) melts away,
The clouds upon the evening sky are bright
But wasting mingle in the glorious light.
So, may my soul in life’s declining hours
Like the still forest never once complain:
And flow unmurmuring, adown its course
Like yonder brooklet to the Eternal Main;
And as the clouds upon the sunset sky
Be mingled with the radiance on high.
1. untitled manuscript,
(My own note. This same poem, punctuated differently, carries a date of 1842. The date is gleened from sequence in his writing books. There is no indication how far apart autumn 1 and autumn 2 are in work nor in writing, by the editor, Marshall B. Tymn.)
Like a cloud on the brow of a mountain
When the sun in his glory doth rise;
Like the spray of the far-falling fountain
That ascendeth so swift toward the skies
Like the infant’s gay laugh–like the blush
On the virgin’s soft cheek–like the flush
Of the floweret that withers anon
Is the year; Yea! the year that is gone
For the cloud it hath vanished away
Dispersed by the power of the sun
And dissolved in the air is the spray
E’re the blue heights of heaven it had won;
And now transient the laugh of the child
And the blush on the virgin’s soft cheek
And the flower is the beauty despoiled
E’re another bright morning can break.
Like such is the year; it has wings
That bore it with swiftness away
And though round it our memory clings
Ah! we cannot ritard it one day!
It is gone O my soul! It is gone
Its months, weeks and days every one.
Now I turn to the fresh coming year.
Shall wild Hope mount her chariot again?
And rush onward with reckless career?
And shall Fancy’s bright pictures so vain
Me deceive as may have done before?
Strange delusions! I fear ye and strive
You to cast from my soul evermore;
To escape earth’s enchantments and live
In the bondage of truth; for the true
Is the pathway, though weary and sad
And so darksome and dreary to view
That leads up to the world of the glad.
O loved Hope that hath recreant been.
Through the year and the years that are past
Let my chariot wheels turn where is seen
The bright gate of glory at last.
Hail thou fair orb? Thou ever beauteous light
Thou di’mond in the subtle robe of night
Plac’d by thy maker in the wilds of space,
And bade pursue unceasingly thy race,
In heav’n’s blue canopy thy torch was hung
(When the bright angels first creation sun.)
To cheer this earth when in the Ocean’s breast
The wearied sun hath plunged his golden crest —
Emblem of mercy: whose descending beams
Impartial spread wide o’er the trackless wild
The fertile valley, and the sparkling deep
The palace, cot, the wood entangled steep.
O what a subject, what swelling theme
For mind’s wide scope, or fancy’s airy dream,
To trace enamoured on thy bosom bright,
The rising mountains, or the ocean’s light —
Thou hast thy hills rejoicing in the day
Thy rivers roll their ever changeful way,
High to the sun thy threat’ning rocks arise:
And vallies dim my eager fancy spies:
Thy woods are dark — and shall I venture more,
And dare thy hidden secrets to explore;
Are there not beings form’d to grace the rest
Happy, and beautiful, divinely bless’d
Pure as their skies more virtuous than we;
Who never fell from heaven’s high destiny —
On the Atlantic’s undulating breast,
Thy pictur’d image by the flood is press’d;
Methinks thy searching beams can sweep
Into the very caverns of the deep —
Through liquid mazes troublous, and dread,
Lighting the gloom of Ocean’s rocky bed.
Perhaps in some coral grove, or weedy vale
To her he loves the Merman breathes his tale;
In liquid language he recites it o’er,
With voice like waves upon the pebbly shore
Swears that his love is boundless as the sea,
Pure as that orb, and turning points to thee —
O let me wander in my silent beam,
When all is calm, and still, and e’en the stream
Rolls on in silence: when the breezes sleep
Or sigh in softness o’er the smiling deep —
And ye deep woods rise to this silver light,
Heave your broad bosoms toss your branches bright.
And ye blue mountains climbing to the sky
Thou ocean wide: ye beaming clouds on high;
The Moon’s fair light in bright reflections raise
And greet the heav’ns with your grateful praise,
Thou light of heaven; who of thee can sing,
Render thy praise, or worthy off’rings bring:
Feeble my efforts but do thou receive,
This humble tribute glorious Queen of eve —