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by Emma Shuman

November, gloomy eyed and sullen browed,
With sweeping garment of a misty hue,
Comes gliding with slow step across the land,
And straightway at her feet rise moaning winds,
That sing a requiem for the summer, dead
And buried deep beneath the autumn leaves.

Anon the giant trees take up the strain,
With louder voice and naked arms wide tossed,
Do groan and sigh in helpless agony
At touch of her prophetic hand,
Which creeping slowly up and ever up,
Doth sap their very vitals and enwrap
Them fast in winter’s death.

The little brook that lately kissed the bank
Through sunny hours and glints of leafy shade,
Babbling the while unto the listening ferns,
That ever bent their graceful heads
To answer his caress,
Now silent slips away as one who hears a foe behind,
Bearing upon his bosom brown and sere
The lifeless forms of those he lately loved.
Adown the glen the summer winds rush with discordant sigh,
While all the tiny folk that habit in the wood
Seek low their shelter.
Stealthily she passed as one who but obeys a stronger power,
Yet is the deed most hateful in her sight,
Then from her mantle’s many folds
There fell a pearl like mist that straightway wrought
A magic in its touch on all below,
Changing the brown to gray, the brilliant red to brown,
Clothing the bare boughs in their winding sheet,
And decking every blade and stem,
In vestment white for burial.

A pause, in which all nature stands aghast,
While heavy bends the sky its weeping clouds
In sorrow at the sight;
Another, and the topmost branches bow
Their allegiance to the Icy King,
Who swiftly riding in his windy clouds,
Doth warn of his approach.
A moment more and the fierce northern steeds
Are hard upon the scene,
While thick and fast the snowy pall is laid
On all the land.

Why muse in sadness on this swift decay?
’Tis but the death of nature that must come
To aid the spring of life perennial;
Without which no life is, nor can exist,
And through which comes the perfect life above,
For which we sleep as sleep these flowers
Beneath the winter’s snow,
To bloom the brighter when the Maker’s hand
Quickens the germs of immortality
And bids us spring as they will spring,
Beauteous and free from every touch of earth,
Through this long sleep.

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