When the far woods a misty veil assume
(The sun being gone), and stand in solemn hush,
To the pale heavens comes a heightened bloom;
Slowly it gathers--an ethereal flush,
Blending the summer rose, the oriole's breast, Wine, fruit, and leafage touched to various flame,
The candle-light of home far seen and blest,
And flower-like, gem-like splendors without name.
This is the reminiscent Afterglow,
Day's riches told upon the bourn of Night:
So I, Life's pilgrim, ere from hence I go,
Resigning the sweet heritage of light,
Would view in the soul's west the pageant train
Of what hath been, but shall not be again.
As dies the Day so dies the blessed Year,
Through dreamful languishment and mystic trance,
With murmur-voiced adieu, and wistful glance
Still deepening as the shadow draws more near.
What is it wanders with the thistle's sphere,
Or darts before the gossamer's shimmering lance,
Or mingles with the lost leaves' elfin dance,
Or, birdlike, flutes along the upland sere?
The host of those departing! Yet, a while
They linger, and, with sweet remembering,
Catch back the tender prattle of the Spring,
The full heart-throb of Summer and her smile.
Good-by, fond Day, good-by, regretful Year!
Ye go--the Night and Winter tarry here!
Sometimes in the late Year will come a day
Careless that Winterward the season turns:
Large dew replaces frost, the bees yet stray,
And, softened by the mist, the rare leaf burns
Pale rose, and tender green, and amber, too--
As though the time of bursting buds were near!
The breath of Spring is on the lingering dew,
Yet ever runs abroad a whisper sere.
So to the spirit's lot it may befall--
Some dream of Youth deceives--brief while deceives!
My God! From me the Spring is farther gone
Than in this hour the migrant bird whose call
Through alien lands sounds sweetly at dark dawn,
While silence deepens round our vacant eaves.