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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/650

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AUTUMN IN THE WOODS, ETC.


AUTUMN IN THE WOODS.

How changed the scene from that I lately sang,
Of summer in the woods!
When all the leafy coverts rang,
Down to the deepest solitudes,
With sweet bird-harmonies of song
From the wild feathered throng.
But now the furious wind's sonorous bass
Sounds through the naked trees:
Music spreads forth her wing,
And in the air float melodies, which chase
Each other as they please,
And gambol as in ecstasies;
Each tree a harp, and every branch a string,
Touched by a hand unseen, now low, now high,
Outringing rapturous refrains,
And with great heaven's own minstrelsy
Flooding the hills and plains.
Some tremulous leaves still hang upon the boughs,
Quivering 'twixt life and death,
And yonder willow sways and sighs and bows,
Before the frost hath breathed her wintry breath,
And the last leaf falls flickering to its tomb, —
Relic of brightness and of bloom.
Walk through the wood, thrilled to the inmost core
By the wild concert of celestial sounds
In God's cathedral. Hear the wondrous roar
Of nature's organ, echoing in rounds
From the high headland to the ocean shore.
Magnificently grand!
This is God's minster-choir,
By the blue heavens o'erspanned;
And now the song bursts forth from harp and lyre,
A hallelujah chorus loud,
A hurricane of praise which sweeps
Triumphantly from cloud to cloud,
As though the very heavens were bowed,
And then in silence sleeps.
Sweet silence! like the cadence of a psalm:
The storm was sudden, and the hallowing calm
As sudden as the storm;
Not a breath stirs, and zephyr soft as balm
Brings peace in its most lovely form.
Only the whispering rill I hear,
With its mild vesper hymn the trees among,
And, beautifully clear.
The robin's plaintive song.

B.
Sunday Magazine.




Oh! thou, whose heart is scarred and worn,
Whom plans bewilder, cares oppress, —
By disappointment overborne,
Or overjoyed at earth's success, —
The fir woods call to thee to come,
Their lonely depths are never dumb.

For there is never day so still,
So lulled to sleep, but some light breeze,
Unnoticed else, doth faintly fill
The topmost foliage of the trees,
And those tall, tapering crests are stirred,
And the eternal whisper heard.

And there is never day so rude,
So vexed with blasts that howl and drive,
But in this dark and silent wood
The winds are hushed, or only give —
Howe'er the tree-tops rock and swing —
Depth to their solemn murmuring.

G. A. Holmes.
Good Words.




A SUICIDE.

Judge not! 'Tis past thy ken;
Strangely the web of destiny is ordered;
In highest-natured men
The loftiest wit with depths of madness bordered!

Judge not! The taper's light
Is too small measure for volcanoes' burning;
This constant, feebly-bright, —
That sudden, with wild flame, all barriers spurning.

Judge not! Beyond the grave
We shall know better the immense, great trial;
This man submits, a slave;
The other fights, and dies, in fierce denial.

But He who views the strife,
Calm from without, more wise than those within it,
Counts the long "Yes" of life,
Not the one "No," the single faithless minute.

Spectator.




TWO SEASONS.

Can this be spring? These tearful lights that break
Across wet uplands in the windy dawn
Are paler than the primroses, that make
Dim glories on the banks of field and lawn;
Wild blasts are sweeping o'er the garden beds,
Wild clouds are drifting through the dull, grey skies,
And early flowers, rain-beaten, hang their heads;
Can it be spring that wears this stormy guise?

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


Can this be autumn? Freshly green and fair
The meadows glisten in the morning rays,
Touches of brown and crimson, here and there,
Are all that tell us that the year decays.
We would not have the old year young again;
If this be death, we find him passing sweet;
Watching the soft hues change on hill and plain,
We wait in peace the calm destroyer's feet.

Sarah Doudney
Good Words.