Pictures of sunset, yester eve,
The still lake underlying,
So charmed us we forgot to grieve
For the sweet summer dying.
O sunny noons! O warm suns set
Where crystal waters quiver!
Days without shadow, save regret
That they are gone forever!
O lambent skies, so pure and bright,
While realms beyond draw nearer;
Our rapt souls wonder, steeped in light,
If Heaven itself is fairer!
O long sweet drives through leafy ways
Of forests dim and olden,
Where softly steal the subtle rays,
Turning their green shades golden!
Through dewy lanes, where summer came
To blazon her sweet story
In cardinal tufts of scarlet flame,
And mark a path of glory;
Down long, bright miles of golden-rod,
Born of the Day-god's shadow,
From sunbeams sown along the sod,
A nimbus round the meadow;
Where flash pale marguerites, starry-eyed,
Beside their sister daisies,
With violet colors, streaked and pied,
Clust'red in purple mazes;
Down where the sweet wild roses thrill
Faint fragrance to the rushes,
And regal lilies, paler still
In contrast with their blushes;
Unmarked, the hours, like golden darts,
Through summer vistas flying,
Till green leaves turn their bleeding hearts
To tell us they are dying.
The summer smites through sunny clouds
Her treasures green and tender,
To fit them for their crimson shrouds
And autumn's funeral splendor.
O matchless eves! your glories sweep
So low where twilight closes
Her purple gates, yon crystal deep
Looks heaped with cloud-land roses.
And, while I gaze, night's Rembrandt shade
Falls where the red is waving,
Till sun-flushed views, dissolving, fade,
To moonlight's soft engraving.
O summer friends of vanished days,
So calm, so blest, so fleeting,
When all have gone their separate ways,
Where next will be our meeting?
Perchance before another year
Shall bring us summer's blessing,
In chains of friendship woven here
Some dear link may be missing.
Fresh childhood, youth, maturer age,
Swept off by Death's dark tidal,
Might leave, alas! one clouded page
In this, our summer idyl.
Old Time will bind with icy chain
The blue lake's dulcet murmur,
And cold storms chant a wild refrain
Where sang the sweet-voiced summer.
But memory sails through sparkling waves,
And drifts on waters glowing,
With sunset fires our path she paves
out to the westward rowing.
O dreamy scenes of joy and love,
My soul in beauty steeping,
Your pictures live as treasure trove
In Memory's holy keeping.
The songs we sang still steal to me
From out a mystic gloaming;
Ferns wave their plumes, wild-flowers I see
Through tender vistas blooming.
Friends of one fleeting summer-time,
'Mid falling leaves we sever;
But in my heart, as in this rhyme,
I hold you fast forever.