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Far away, on hilly slopes
Where fleet rivulets run,
Miles on miles of tangled fern,
Burnished by the sun,

Glow a copper dun.

For the year that's on the wane,

Gathering all its fire,

Flares up through the kindling world

As, ere they expire,

Flames leap high and higher.

Mathilde Blind [1841-1896]


YEA, she hath passed hereby, and blessed the sheaves,
And the great garths, and stacks, and quiet farms,
And all the tawny, and the crimson leaves.
Yea, she hath passed with poppies in her arms,
Under the star of dusk, through stealing mist,
And blessed the earth, and gone, while no man wist.

With slow, reluctant feet, and weary eyes,
And eye-lids heavy with the coming sleep,
With small breasts lifted up in stress of sighs,
She passed, as shadows pass, among the sheep;
While the earth dreamed, and only I was ware
Of that faint fragrance blown from her soft hair.

The land lay steeped in peace of silent dreams;
There was no sound amid the sacred boughs.
Nor any mournful music in her streams:
Only I saw the shadow on her brows,

Only I knew her for the yearly slain,

And wept, and weep until she come again.

Frederic Manning [18


HAIL, old October, bright and chill,
First freedman from the summer sun!
Spice high the bowl, and drink your fill!
Thank heaven, at last the summer's done!


Come, friend, my fire is burning bright,
A fire's no longer out of place,

How clear it glows! (there's frost to-night,)
It looks white winter in the face.

You've been to "Richard." Ah! you've seen
A noble play: I'm glad you went;
But what on earth does Shakespeare mean
By "winter of our discontent”?

Be mine the tree that feeds the fire!
Be mine the sun knows when to set!
Be mine the months when friends desire
To turn in here from cold and wet!

The sentry sun, that glared so long
O'erhead, deserts his summer post;
Ay, you may brew it hot and strong:
"The joys of winter"-come, a toast!

Shine on the kangaroo, thou sun!
Make far New Zealand faint with fear!
Don't hurry back to spoil our fun,
Thank goodness, old October's here!


Thomas Constable [1812-1881]


WHEN thistle-blows do lightly float

About the pasture-height,

And shrills the hawk a parting note,

And creeps the frost at night,

Then hilly ho! though singing so,

And whistle as I may,

There comes again the old heart pain

Through all the livelong day.

In high wind creaks the leafless tree
And nods the fading fern;

The knolls are dun as snow-clouds be,

And cold the sun does burn.

Then ho, hollo! though calling so,
I cannot keep it down;

The tears arise unto my eyes,

And thoughts are chill and brown.

Far in the cedars' dusky stoles,
Where the sere ground-vine weaves,
The partridge drums funereal rolls
Above the fallen leaves.

And hip, hip, ho! though cheering so,

It stills no whit the pain;

For drip, drip, drip, from bare branch-tip,

I hear the year's last rain.

So drive the cold cows from the hill,

And call the wet sheep in;

And let their stamping clatter fill

The barn with warming din.

And ho, folk, ho! though it be so

That we no more may roam,

We still will find a cheerful mind
Around the fire at home!

[blocks in formation]

THE day had been a calm and sunny day,
And tinged with amber was the sky at even;
The fleecy clouds at length had rolled away,
And lay in furrows on the eastern heaven;-
The moon arose and shed a glimmering ray,
And round her orb a misty circle lay.

The hoar-frost glittered on the naked heath,
The roar of distant winds was loud and deep,
The dry leaves rustled in each passing breath,
And the gay world was lost in quiet sleep.
Such was the time when, on the landscape brown,
Through a December air the snow came down.

Winter Nights

The morning came, the dreary morn, at last,


And showed the whitened waste. The shivering herd Lowed on the hoary meadow-ground, and fast

Fell the light flakes upon the earth unstirred;

The forest firs with glittering snows o'erlaid

Stood like hoar priests in robes of white arrayed.

John Howard Bryant [1807-1902]


Now winter nights enlarge

The number of their hours;

And clouds their storms discharge

Upon the airy towers.

Let now the chimneys blaze
cups o'erflow with wine,
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine!
Now yellow waxen lights

Shall wait on honey love,

While youthful revels, masques, and Courtly sights,

Sleep's leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well:
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,

Some poems smoothly read.

The summer hath his joys,

And winter his delights;

Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,

They shorten tedious nights.

Thomas Campion [ ? -1619]


THE wintry west extends his blast,

And hail and rain does blaw;

Or the stormy north sends driving forth
The blinding sleet and snaw:

While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,

And roars frae bank to brae; And bird and beast in covert rest, And pass the heartless day.

"The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast," The joyless winter day,

Let others fear,-to me more dear

Than all the pride of May;

The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul,

My griefs it seems to join;

The leafless trees my fancy please,

Their fate resembles mine!

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme

These woes of mine fulfil,

Here, firm, I rest,-they must be best,

Because they are Thy will.

Then all I want (oh, do Thou grant

This one request of mine!)

Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,

Assist me to resign!

Robert Burns [1759-1796]


OLD Winter sad, in snow yclad,

Is making a doleful din;

But let him howl till he crack his jowl,

We will not let him in.

Ay, let him lift from the billowy drift

His hoary, haggard form,

And scowling stand, with his wrinkled hand
Outstretching to the storm.

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