Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Miami, the River, Ohio.

Miami Woods

By William D. Gallagher (1808–1894)

(From A Hymn of the Autumn Time)

THE AUTUMN time is with us!—Its approach

Was heralded, not many days ago,

By hazy skies, that veiled the brazen sun,

And sea-like murmurs from the rustling corn,

And low-voiced brooks that wandered drowsily

By purpling clusters of the juicy grape,

Swinging upon the vine. And now, ’t is here!

And what a change hath passed upon the face

Of Nature, where the waving forest spreads,

Then robed in deepest green! All through the night

The subtle frost hath plied its mystic art;

And in the day the golden sun hath wrought

True wonders; and the winds of morn and even

Have touched with magic breath the changing leaves.

And now, as wanders the dilating eye

Athwart the varied landscape, circling far,

What gorgeousness, what blazonry, what pomp

Of colors, bursts upon the ravished sight!

Here, where the maple rears its yellow crest,

A golden glory: yonder, where the oak

Stands monarch of the forest, and the ash

Is girt with flame-like parasite, and broad

The dogwood spreads beneath, a rolling field

Of deepest crimson; and afar, where looms

The gnarléd gum, a cloud of bloodiest red!

Out in the woods of Autumn!—I have cast

Aside the shackles of the town, that vex

The fetterless soul, and come to hide myself,

Miami! in thy venerable shades.

Low on thy bank, where spreads the velvet moss,

My limbs recline. Beneath me, silver-bright,

Glide the clear waters, with a plaintive moan

For summer’s parting glories. High o’erhead,

Seeking the sedgy lakes of the warm South,

Sails tireless the unerring waterfowl,

Screaming among the cloud-racks. Oft from where,

Erect on mossy trunk, the partridge stands,

Bursts suddenly the whistle clear and loud,

Far-echoing through the dim wood’s fretted aisles.

Deep murmurs from the trees, bending with brown

And ripened mast, are interrupted now

By sounds of dropping nuts; and warily

The turkey from the thicket comes, and swift

As flies an arrow darts the pheasant down,

To batten on the autumn; and the air,

At times, is darkened by a sudden rush

Of myriad wings, as the wild pigeon leads

His squadrons to the banquet. Far away,

Where the pawpaw its mellow fruitage yields,

And thick, dark clusters of the wild grape hang,

The merry laugh of childhood, and the shout

Of truant schoolboy, ring upon the air.