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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 20/88 -


And the Year On the earth, her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead, Is lying. Come, months, come away, From November to May; In your saddest array Follow the bier Of the dead, cold Year, And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.

The chill rain is falling; the nipped worm is crawling; The rivers are swelling; the thunder is knelling For the Year; The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone To his dwelling; Come, months, come away; Put on white, black, and gray; Let your light sisters play - Ye, follow the bier Of the dead, cold Year, And make her grave green with tear on tear.

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]

AUTUMN

The morns are meeker than they were, The nuts are getting brown; The berry's cheek is plumper, The rose is out of town. The maple wears a gayer scarf, The field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I'll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson [1830-1886]

"WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN"

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock, And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock, And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens, And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence; O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best, With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest, As he leaves the house, bareheaded and goes out to feed the stock, When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here - Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees, And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees; But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock - When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn, And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn; The stubble in the furries - kindo' lonesome-like, but still A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill; The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed; The hosses in theyr stalls below - the clover overhead! - O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock, When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is getherd, and the ones a feller keeps Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps; And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! . . . I don't know how to tell it - but ef sich a thing could be As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me - I'd want to 'commodate 'em - all the whole-indurin' flock - When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

James Whitcomb Riley [1849-1916]

KORE

Yea, she hath passed hereby, and blessed the sheaves, And the great garths, and stacks, and quiet farms, And all the tawny, and the crimson leaves. Yea, she hath passed with poppies in her arms, Under the star of dusk, through stealing mist, And blessed the earth, and gone, while no man wist.

With slow, reluctant feet, and weary eyes, And eye-lids heavy with the coming sleep, With small breasts lifted up in stress of sighs, She passed, as shadows pass, among the sheep; While the earth dreamed, and only I was ware Of that faint fragrance blown from her soft hair.

The land lay steeped in peace of silent dreams; There was no sound amid the sacred boughs. Nor any mournful music in her streams: Only I saw the shadow on her brows, Only I knew her for the yearly slain, And wept, and weep until she come again.

Frederic Manning [18 -

OLD OCTOBER

Hail, old October, bright and chill, First freedman from the summer sun! Spice high the bowl, and drink your fill! Thank heaven, at last the summer's done!

Come, friend, my fire is burning bright, A fire's no longer out of place, How clear it glows! (there's frost to-night,) It looks white winter in the face.

You've been to "Richard" Ah! you've seen A noble play: I'm glad you went; But what on earth does Shakespeare mean By "winter of our discontent?"

Be mine the tree that feeds the fire! Be mine the sun knows when to set! Be mine the months when friends desire To turn in here from cold and wet!

The sentry sun, that glared so long O'erhead, deserts his summer post; Ay, you may brew it hot and strong: "The joys of winter" - come, a toast!

Shine on the kangaroo, thou sun! Make far New Zealand faint with fear! Don't hurry back to spoil our fun, Thank goodness, old October's here!

Thomas Constable [1812-1881]

NOVEMBER

When thistle-blows do lightly float About the pasture-height, And shrills the hawk a parting note, And creeps the frost at night, Then hilly ho! though singing so, And whistle as I may, There comes again the old heart pain Through all the livelong day.

In high wind creaks the leafless tree And nods the fading fern; The knolls are dun as snow-clouds be, And cold the sun does burn. Then ho, hollo! though calling so, I cannot keep it down; The tears arise unto my eyes, And thoughts are chill and brown.

Far in the cedars' dusky stoles, Where the sere ground-vine weaves, The partridge drums funereal rolls Above the fallen leaves. And hip, hip, ho! though cheering so, It stills no whit the pain; For drip, drip, drip, from bare-branch tip, I hear the year's last rain.

So drive the cold cows from the hill, And call the wet sheep in; And let their stamping clatter fill The barn with warming din. And ho, folk, ho! though it be so That we no more may roam, We still will find a cheerful mind Around the fire at home!

C. L. Cleaveland [18 - ? ]

NOVEMBER

Hark you such sound as quivers? Kings will hear, As kings have heard, and tremble on their thrones; The old will feel the weight of mossy stones; The young alone will laugh and scoff at fear. It is the tread of armies marching near, From scarlet lands to lands forever pale; It is a bugle dying down the gale; It is the sudden gushing of a tear. And it is hands that grope at ghostly doors; And romp of spirit-children on the pave; It is the tender sighing of the brave Who fell, ah! long ago, in futile wars; It is such sound as death; and, after all, 'Tis but the forest letting dead leaves fall.


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 20/88

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