Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AUTUMN, by ROBERT SOUTHEY



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AUTUMN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nay william, nay, not so; the changeful year
Last Line: God, always, everywhere, and all in all.
Subject(s): Autumn; Comfort; Death; God; Nature - Religious Aspects; Presence; Seasons; Fall; Dead, The


NAY William, nay, not so; the changeful year
In all its due successions to my sight
Presents but varied beauties, transient all,
All in their season good. These fading leaves
That with their rich variety of hues
Make yonder forest in the slanting sun
So beautiful, in you awake the thought
Of winter, cold, drear winter, when these trees
Each like a fleshless skeleton shall stretch
Its bare brown boughs; when not a flower shall spread
Its colours to the day, and not a bird
Carol its joyaunce—but all nature wear
One sullen aspect, bleak and desolate,
To eye, ear, feeling, comfortless alike.
To me their many-coloured beauties speak
Of times of merriment and festival,
The year's best holyday: I call to mind
The school-boy days, when in the falling leaves
I saw with eager hope the pleasant sign
Of coming Christmas, when at morn I took
My wooden kalender, and counting up
Once more its often-told account, smooth'd off
Each day with more delight the daily notch.
To you the beauties of the autumnal year
Make mournful emblems, and you think of man
Doom'd to the grave's long winter, spirit-broke,
Bending beneath the burthen of his years,
Sense-dull'd and fretful, "full of aches and pains,"
Yet clinging still to life. To me they shew
The calm decay of nature, when the mind
Retains its strength, and in the languid eye
Religion's holy hopes kindle a joy
That makes old age look lovely. All to you
Is dark and cheerless; you in this fair world
See some destroying principle abroad,
Air, earth, and water full of living things,
Each on the other preying; and the ways
Of man, a strange perplexing labyrinth,
Where crimes and miseries, each producing each,
Render life loathsome, and destroy the hope
That should in death bring comfort. Oh my frien
That thy faith were as mine! that thou couldst see
Death still producing life, and evil still
Working its own destruction; couldst behold
The strifes and tumults of this troubled world
With the strong eye that sees the promised day
Dawn through this night of tempest! all things then
Would minister to joy; then should thine heart
Be healed and harmonized, and thou shouldst feel
God, always, everywhere, and all in all.





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