Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

October, 1865

As by the deathbed of an aged saint,
Whose pallid lips emit no moaning plaint,
On whose calm brow the light of heaven is shed,
Eternal peace begun ere life has fled-
Even so I stand and gaze with moistened eyes
On the calm glories of the autumn skies,
The breathless quiet, 'the rapture of repose'
That o'er the dying form of Nature throws
A magic halo, a soul-trancing spell,
A powerful charm to soothe, perchance dispel
The low'ring clouds of care.-I walk abroad,
And, musing, stray along the silent road,
Or by the margin of the moaning stream,
Whose mournful music aids the poet's dream-
A dream of bliss and peace, serene and sober-
The dream, the bliss, the peace are thine, October:
Thine the sear leafage of the rifled woods,
The fading hue of pastoral solitudes;
Thy groves are silent-there the cushat-dove
No more in amorous cooings tells her love,
And save red-robin of the noisless wing,
And short, shrill lay, we hear no warbler sing;
Beneath the beech the mast lies ripe and brown,
The ripen'd acorns patter thickly down.
Fast in their jagged husks the chestnuts fall;
Far in the hazel copse I hear the call
Of merry nutters beating down the spoil,
Their kernel treasures, meed of pleasant toil.
Where now the flowers decayed, discoloured, dead?
Still here and there the daisy rears her head,
All blanched and tearful, as if sadly weeping
The death of kindred in the dank sod sleeping.
Oh close thy weary lids, dim 'Eye of day,'
Till spring shall wake and raise thee from the clay;
For thou shalt wake again, again shall rise
To gaze again upon the summer skies,
To drink the dew, and feel the brushing wing
Of early lark, ere yet he mounts to sing.
And I, like thee, lone floweret, must decay-
Must soon be laid to sleep with kindred clay,
Till time shall be no more, and earth and sky,
With all they hold, in flaming ruins lie;
Then death itself shall die, and earth restore
Her sleepers in the dust-to die no more.
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