Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Dead Leaves Strew the Forest Walk
By John G. C. Brainard (1796–1828)
“THE DEAD leaves strow the forest walk,
  And wither’d are the pale wild-flowers;
The frost hangs blackening on the stalk,
  The dew-drops fall in frozen showers.
  Gone are the springs green sprouting bowers        5
Gone summer’s rich and mantling vines,
  And Autumn, with her yellow hours,
On hill and plain no longer shines.
I learn’d a clear and wild-toned note,
  That rose and swell’d from yonder tree—        10
A gay bird, with too sweet a throat,
  There perch’d and raised her song for me.
  The winter comes, and where is she?
Away——where summer wings will rove,
  Where buds are fresh, and every tree        15
Is vocal with the notes of love.
Too mild the breath of southern sky,
  Too fresh the flower that blushes there,
The northern breeze that rustles by,
  Finds leaves too green, and buds too fair;        20
  No forest-tree stands stript and bare,
No stream beneath the ice is dead,
  No mountain-top with sleety hair
Bends o’er the snows its reverend head.
Go there with all the birds,—and seek        25
  A happier clime, with livelier flight,
Kiss, with the sun, the evening’s cheek,
  And leave me lonely with the night.
  —I ’ll gaze upon the cold north light,
And mark where all its glories shone—        30
  See!—that it all is fair and bright,
Feel—that it all is cold and gone.”

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