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NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
C lin t on Sc pllard iBsq. and
Frederic Fairchild Sherman
December 18. 1917
ELEGY IN AUTUMN
IN MEMORY OF
pRAin: Dempsi^r Sherman
Frederic Fairchild Sherman
THE Tii^W YOr^K
ASTOR LttTO:^ KWD
Copyrigbtt 1917. by
ELEGY IN AUTUMN
Mother in smg, you who have ffxne before
Al<x^ hr inccnnmunicabte ways,
Leavii^ me here upon this momd dune,
A bondman to the tyrant nights and days,
Across the dis^nce, hail I
Th(H^ Time may sever, and we meet no more.
Yet what shall Time avail I
Twas Autumn when we first set hand to hand.
And eye to eye, in loyal cotnrade^p;
Drowsed with a draught of Beauty seemed the land.
As it had raised a goldm cup to lip;
But you embodied Spring,
Its harvest hc^ies, its deeds in joyance planned,
Its brave adventuring.
I can recaU your buoyance, — can recall
The st^-sown hours beneath the Cambridge trees,
When o*er us wheeled the bright processional
Of bold Ori<»i and the Pleiades,
And how we strolled along
Lai^terfiil, and oblivious to all
Save die sweet thrall c^Sot^.
Youth has its visions and its fervors; yours
Were lovii^y enlinked with Poesy;
You dreamed the dream that many an one allures.
The vernal dream where life is harmony.
And though the years estrai^oJ
Your full allegiaiKe, somethir^ still assures
My heart you never changed.
What merriment was ours those shut-in ni^ts
When WintCT, damcvous at the casement, cried !
W^t dear assodarion, vAat delights
As we in friendly emulation vied,
While Aspiratiai s cruse
Was bimmed for us, beholding on dim heights
The presence of the Muse !
And then there opened wider paths to tread
When Love, with Sor^, beguiled you on and (mt.
While Art around your feet unfeltcrii^ shed
Its luminous lig^t, irradiant as the dawn;
Thougji you saw many part
Frcnn deities l<x^ worshipped, you wete wed
Inalienably to Art
What though die rigid chains of ctrcutns&ince
Oft held YOU in the trammels d die town.
Your heart went woodward where the &ihes daiKe
What time the moon its silvery dieen sifts dowa
You loved the reeds and rills,
Hk sea, the shore, their glamour and romance,
And all the clin^ni^ hills.
And when you made escape, and sensed the wild
Aromas beat about you, whoi you &red
By trades unwonted, like an unleasheddiild
You gleefully your gay abandrai s^iared.
Care &om ycnir Moulders thrown.
You seemed an Ariel spirit, long exiled,
Come bade unto its own.
With ^adous Memory again I go
To tread widi you where meads are green and gold,
Where upland slopes are strewn with daisy-snow.
And bee-balm. torches li^t the flocks to fold,
And willow branches wzve
Above Oriskany, singing far below
Its liquid summer stave.
Now south we sail where stormy currents meet
Round the wind4iarassed cape of Hatteras,
Beyond whose beacons^ when the tides retreat.
The wide sea-mirror is like bumidied glass;
There, "mid the drowsy calms,
As PoTKe de Leon did of yore, we greet
The tall Ploridian palms.
Hate down the live-oak aisles 'ds ours to stray
With wraiths of many a stem cc»iqiustad(»-,
TlKse vani^ied warriors of an elder day
When gtay San Marco bore the brunt of war;
Hexe we in revery lean
Upcm die Tan^)arts beetling o'er the bay,
AikI watdi die shifting scene; —
The boats diat dip and dart like living thit^
Seeking the opai sea beyond the bar;
The gracdul gulls widi sunlight on their wit^
Up liie Matanzas soarir^ fleet and iai
Where inlets deep beguile;
And o'er the ^A^ter's undulant shinunerii^
The low coquina isle.
Then, at the droc^ni^ of the twilight hour,
We wander in the ancient plaza where
We breathe the attar of the jasmine flower
Like incense on the altar of the air;
And list, as music swells
Down driftit^ from the old cathedral tower.
The arpe^o of the bells.
We linger by the sea-wall while the tide
Below us murmurs like a sad relrain,
Bearit^ from outer ocean reaches wide
The lore and legend of the Spanish main,
Nor leave that spot serene
Till Sleep, as with the mande of the tdde.
Wraps fair Saint Augustine.
Da^ dedicate to rapturous thing? were these;
It was as thou^ Youth came again, and broi^t
Past aims, past ardors and past ecstasies,
And toward the rfirine of Beauty turned our thcn^c
And there were after times
Of exultattcn, phsmic harmcmies,
When hours ran by in rhymes.
Once, 'mid cathedral Carolinian pines.
We saw the Sprii^de, at its radiant birdi,
Kindle to feigrant gold the coilii^ vines,
And make a garden of the wakened earth;
And every momir^ heard
Within the treeKtps, melody linked with mirdi.
The hidden mockii^-bird.
And while the cardinal throu^ the waving bredes
Of pendulous moss swift flitted like a flame,
Back flooded to our minds the illustrious deeds,
Emblazoned on the htmor-sctdl c^ Fame,
When Liberty was won,
Headcenii^ the Adiley whi^)er to its reeds
The name of Marioa
Prom Gloucester cliih and brown Nantucket dunes
The mountains lured you, and the mountain s^r;
For us the Woodland sai^ its lyric runes
Where'er we Mlowed it, or near or far.
In sun or shadow cool,
Or loit^ed throu^ lor^ languorous af^moons
By Dian's darkling pool.
Var i^ the valley Wittenberg's vast fixm,
Its summit heckomng, with you I view,
And above sweeping slopes where wild bees swarm
Glin^ise timid deer at dawn and &1I of dew;
Through Panther Kill we roam,
And marie the purple streamers of the storm
Ascend behind the DcHne.
And, too, in bookmen s mines c^ dusty ok
Ever ^lall I remanber how we delved,
Pludut^ dam out the musty treasure-sKire
Rich larities within the darkness shelved.
Elated if- we found
Leaves that some name we lot^ had honored bore
In frayed morocco bound.
Thus, step by st^, we trod adown the years,
Thus, side by side, with ne'er a break between ;
We shared our lai^ter and we ^laied our tears,
Nor deoned inex<nable Fate mi^t intervene
To sever the stroi^ cord
That bound us. Fate widi its "abhcmed idiears,*
That is man s over-lord.
You that in Autumn came, in Autumn went;
How vain to say die mourning word! how vain
To b^t the bars of that arbitrament
That metes tt> mortals pleasurement or pain !
How vain! — how vain! — and yet
We beat upon diem, and we only gain
The poignance of r^et !
Autumn again with all its loveliness;
Autumn again that broi^t an end to joy,
De^te tiie ^ght of earth in amber dress.
And airs that bear the blitheness of a boy!
Autumn, and kaves that K)ss
In bright brief triumjdiii^, while they exfwess
The broodit^ sense of loss.
Autumn again down every windii^ way
That, in the days gone by, our footsteps pressed I-
Instead of woven amaranth would I lay
Above your dust — you gone by paths unguessed—
Love's deathless asphodel;
Until some happia- hour,— w4ien, who ^lall say? —
Brodier in song, &u%welll
ONE HUNDRED AND FIETT COPIES
PRIVATBLT PRINTED ON ITALIAN HANDS
MADE PAPER DURING OCTOBER MCMXVII
This book )• under do oiroamstaaoea to bo
taken from the Building
.-.i ;'.>■ J
L't' I - ,
- ' ' - 131
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