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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


I. Juvenile Poems. 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.

’T is 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 sigh,

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.