Polk County Hills

by Frances Fuller Victor

November came that day,

And all the air was gray

With delicate mists, blown down

From hill-tops by the south wind's balmy breath;

And all the oaks were brown

As Egypt's kings in death;

The maple's crown of gold

Laid tarnished on the wold;

The alder and the ash, the aspen and the willow,

Wore tattered suits of yellow.

The soft October rains

Had left some scarlet stains

Of color on the landscape's neutral ground;

Those fine ephemeral things,

The winged motes of sound,

That sing the "Harvest Home"

Of ripe Autumn in the gloam

Of the deep and bosky woods, in the field and by the river,

Sang that day their best endeavor.

I said: "In what sweet place

Shall we meet face to face,

Her loveliest self to see—

Meet Nature at her sad autumnal rites,

And learn the mystery

Of her unnamed delights?"

Then you said: "Let us go

Where the late violets blow

In hollows of the hills, under dead oak leaves hiding;—

We'll find she's there abiding."

Do we recall that day?

Has its grace passed away?

Its tenderest, dream-like tone,

Like one of Turner's landscapes limned on air—

Has its fine perfume flown

And left the memory bare?

Not so; its charm is still

Over wood, vale and hill—

The ferny odor sweet, the humming insect chorus,

The spirit that before us

Enticed us with delights

To the blue, breezy hights.

O, beautiful hills that stand

Serene 'twixt earth and heaven, with the grace

Of both to make you grand,—

Your loveliness leaves place

For nothing fairer; fair

And complete beyond compare.

O, lovely purple hills, O, first day of November,

Be sure that I remember!