Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
230. Autumn in the West
By William Davis Gallagher
  THE AUTUMN time is with us. Its approach
Was heralded, not many days ago,
By hazy skies that veiled the brazen sun,
And sea-like murmurs from the rustling corn,
And low-voiced brooks that wandered drowsily        5
By pendent clusters of empurpling grapes
Swinging upon the vine. And now, ’t is here!
And what a change hath passed upon the face
Of nature, where the waving forest spreads,
Then robed in deepest green! All through the night        10
The subtle frost has plied its magic art;
And in the day the golden sun hath wrought
True wonders; and the winds of morn and even
Have touched with magic breath the changing leaves.
And now, as wanders the dilating eye        15
Athwart the varied landscape, circling far,
What gorgeousness, what blazonry, what pomp
Of colors bursts upon the ravished sight!
Here, where the poplar rears its yellow crest,
A golden glory; yonder, where the oak        20
Stands monarch of the forest, and the ash
Is girt with flame-like parasite, and broad
The dogwood spreads beneath, and, fringing all,
The sumac blushes to the ground, a flood
Of deepest crimson; and afar, where looms        25
The gnarlëd gum, a cloud of bloodiest red.
  Out in the woods of autumn! I have cast
Aside the shackles of the town, that vex
The fetterless soul, and come to hide myself,
Miami! in thy venerable shades.        30
Here where seclusion looks out on a scene
Of matchless beauty, I will pause awhile,
And on this bank with varied mosses crowned
Gently recline. Beneath me, silver-bright,
Glide the calm waters, with a plaintive moan        35
For summer’s parting glories. High o’er-head,
Seeking the sedgy brinks of still lagoons
That bask in southern suns the winter through,
Sails tireless the unerring waterfowl,
Screaming among the cloud-racks. Oft from where,        40
In bushy covert hid, the partridge stands,
Bursts suddenly the whistle clear and loud,
Far-echoing through the dim wood’s fretted aisles.
Deep murmurs from the trees, bending with brown
And ripened mast, are interrupted oft        45
By sounds of dropping nuts; and warily
The turkey from the thicket comes, and swift
As flies an arrow darts the pheasant down,
To batten on the autumn; and the air,
At times, is darkened by a sudden rush        50
Of myriad wings, as the wild pigeon leads
His squadrons to the banquet. Far away.
Where tranquil groves on sunny slopes supply
Their liberal store of fruits, the merry laugh
Of children, and the truant school-boy’s shout,        55
Ring on the air, as, from the hollows borne,
Nuts load their creaking carts, and lush pawpaws
Their motley baskets fill, with clustering grapes
And golden-sphered persimmons spread o’er all.


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