Autumnalia

by Frances Fuller Victor

The crimson color lays

As bright as beauty's blush along the West;

And a warm golden haze,

Promising sheafs of ripe Autumnal days

To crown the old year's crest.

Hangs in mid air, a half-pellucid maze,

Through which the sun at set,

Grown round and rosy, looks with Bacchian blush,

For an old wine-god meet—

Whose brows are dripping with the grape-blood sweet,

As if his southern flush

Rejoiced him, in his northern-zone retreat.

The amber-colored air

Musical is with hum of tiny things

Held idly, struggling there,

As if the golden mist entangled were

About the viewless wings,

That beat out music on their gilded snare.

If but a leaf, all gay

With Autumn's gorgeous coloring, doth fall,

Along its fluttering way

A shrill alarum wakes a sharp dismay,

And, answering to the call,

The insect chorus swells and dies away

With a fine piping noise.

As if some younger singing notes cried out,

As do mischievous boys—

Startling their playmates with a pained voice,

Or sudden thrilling shout,

Followed by laughters, full of little joys.

Perchance a lurking breeze

Springs, just awakened to its wayward play,

Tossing the sober trees

Into a frolic maze of ecstasies,

And snatching at the gay

Banners of Autumn, strews them where it please.

The sunset colors glow

A second time in flame from out the wood,

As bright and warm as though

The vanished clouds had fallen, and lodged below

Among the tree-tops, hued

With all the colors of heaven's signal-bow.

The fitful breezes die

Into a gentle whisper, and then sleep;

And sweetly, mournfully,

Starting to sight, in the transparent sky,

Lone in the upper deep,

Sad Hesper pours its beams upon the eye;

And for one little hour,

Holds audience with the lesser lights of heaven;

Then to its western bower

Descends in sudden darkness, as the flower

That at the fall of Even

Shuts its bright eye, and yields to slumber's power.

Soon, with a dusky face,

Pensive and proud as an East Indian queen,

And with a solemn grace,

The moon ascends, and takes her royal place

In the fair evening scene;

While all the reverential stars, apace,

Take up their march through the cool fields of space,

And dead is the sweet Autumn day whose close we've seen.