Autumn.—Gathering in the harvest.—Fall
of the leaf.—Commencement of Winter.—Conclusion.
A YEAR IN CANADA.
Full many a flower the passing breeze has strew’d,The changing groves a duller green display,
And leaves of flaunting crimson spot the wood,
Or paler yellow sicklies o’er the spray;
Unwelcome tints, forerunners of decay;
|Yet warm the noon-tide ray and mild
And tinged with varied hues, profusely gay,
The orchard’s ripen’d burden, bright and fair,
Shines in th’ autumnal beam, and claims the gath’rer’s care.
Where boasts the rich fameuse the rose’s glow,I
|Or rougher pommegris russet
They bend the twigs or scale the loftiest bough,
And strip with careful hand the loaded sprays;
Easier the task to shake yon drooping trees,
Whose blushing boughs, o’er-borne, the hand invite,
|Their cruder burden, destined to the
Comes showering down; and cyder, sparkling bright,
Shall quench the summer’s drought or cheer the wintry night.
Then, half amid its stately rows conceal’d,II
A busy throng collect the ripen’d maize;
|Or where th’ uprooting plough has
traced the field,III
From the dark mould the smooth potatoe
Or from its bed the mellow gourd they bear,
Nor boasts Iberia’s fruit a richer dye;
These, when its wintry robe invests the year,
|Shall to the stall nutritious juice
And bid the dairy’s store with summer’s produce vie.
In sombre guise the plunder’d fields appear,
The harvest closed and closed the lab’rer’s toil;
Save where preparing for the coming year,
|Again the shining ploughshare cleaves
And now, to husk the maize, a mingled band
Of youths and maids, in joyous mood, convene;IV
In shriv’lling folds, beneath th’
The faded leaf deserts the glossy grain,
|And tale and song and jest amuse the
Simple their mirth—but ye in Fortune’s bowers,
Who still can mark her follies! who shall chide
Th’ untutor’d joy? What sweeter wings the hours
Of flippant Fashion, or pedantic pride?
|Yet some, nor sternly wise, nor idly
Have all the charms of intercourse combined,
Where lofty sense, and feeling’s sparkling ray,
Inform’d with science, and by taste refined,
Spread the bright feast of thought, the banquet of the mind.
Though in the cottage bower content may smile,
And many a simple charm the scene endear,
Where rural pleasures cheer the summer’s toil,
And rural plenty crowns the circling year;
The sweets of polish’d life, of wealth, of taste,
|Think not the lay in sullen mood
Pure is the breeze that fans Benlomond’s breast,
Richer the fragrance on the zephyr borne,
Where India’s spicy groves wave to the breath of morn.
Pleasing the art that decks the spacious room,
|If social bliss the fleeting hours
Gaily the tapers gild the winter’s gloom,
When round the sculptured hearth the Lares smile;
But oh! if sordid care and vulgar strife,
Through all the scene of mimic pleasure stray,
|If madd’ning Discord from the lip
Dash the translucent cup of joy away,
Or jealous Envy lour, or cold Deceit betray;
If neither Friendship bless nor Wit adorn
The festive hour, to specious trifling giv’n,
|Who that has loved to gaze on Nature’s
Till Contemplation wing’d her flight to Heav’n,
Who that could weave around Retirement’s bower
The wreath by Peace and Independence twined,
And blend with cheerful toil the leisure hour,
|Where calm Reflection nerves the
Or fans th’ exalted glow of sentiment refined,
Would yield for Pleasure’s semblance joys like these,
And sport with Folly or with Dulness pine;
Or bending at the altar of Caprice,
|The charms of Reason, Freedom, Peace
No, happier far from crowds and cares exiled,
Sweet are those scenes no jarring sounds invade,
The breeze soft whisp’ring through the flowery wild,
In Nature’s ever-varying vest array’d,
|The river’s murm’ring flow, the
music of the glade.
But see its trembling leaves around the grove,V
In eddying whirl, the winds of Autumn strew,
And bound for southern climes, a faithless drove,
Retiring warblers bid these shades
|While, ill conceal’d amid the
The squirrel bounds, the threat’ning tube forbear,
Free let him sport, he asks no boon from thee;
Oh! spare th’ impris’ning cage, th’ insidious snare,
Dear is his native haunt and sweet his sylvan fare!
Now while as yet, through cloudless skies serene,VI
O’er faded fields the Indian Summer glows,
Go, from the vine the latest cluster
And shake their treasure from the nut-tree’s boughs.
’Tis past.—The frost defies the noon-tide beam,
|In the steel’d furrow rests the
Still thick’ning ice encrusts th’ half-cover’d stream,
Unusual mists foretell th’ approaching snow,VII
The flaky shower descends, the wint’ry
Ev’n Winter brings its toils.—The blaze to heap,
|Enclose the fields, or form the
The forest, echoing to its sounding
Beneath the axe her stately race resigns.
Again the snow-clad path the peasants trace,
And urge through drifted heaps the panting steed,
|Till o’er the new-form’d road
with fleeting pace,
In fearless haste th’ unloaded traines proceed,
Erect the drivers stand, and vaunt their coursers’ speed.
With hearts elate the homeward path they trace,IX
Heedless of piercing frosts and day’s decline,
|Slow o’er the snows retiring
And soon shall Heav’n’s blue arch with lustre shine;
Yet dearer, sweeter than yon evening star,
Gleams on the rustic’s view a twinkling ray,
’Tis his own cottage, glimm’ring from afar,
|Through the shrunk shutter beams of
And there shall comfort wait, and rest
his toils repay.
Ere long, a nobler Muse, on loftier wing,
May seek those shades, and every charm unfold,
That spreads its beauties in the fleeting Spring,
|Or Summer’s blush, or Autumn’s
locks of gold;
O’er the broad lakes in daring pinion sweep,
Or with bold step the forest path explore,
Where to Niagara’s resounding steep
Rolls the proud stream, and down with thund’ring roar,
|Flings his white dashing waves, and
shakes the trembling shore.
Not such the minstrel’s skill, nor such the lay,
No classic grace adorns these simple strains;
’Twas but the passing pilgrim of a day,
Who view’d with ling’ring glance yon verdant plains,
|Who haply found,—ev’n in that
Some fleeting hours, that live in Mem’ry’s view,
"In colours mellow’d, not impair’d, by time,"
Some artless friend that wept to bid adieu,
Who, with unpractised hand, the changeful picture drew.
Back to those scenes the dream of Fancy stole,
And many an hour unfelt has wander’d by.
The vision fades, the winds of Winter roll
Its darkest clouds athwart yon louring sky;
And not a beam of radiance shines on high,
|Or gaily sports o’er ice-clad
Nor traine, nor passing sleigh salutes the eye:
Unfetter’d here the rush-crown’d streamlets flow,
And Scotland’s dark-brown heath peeps through the drifted snow.