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Full text of "Elegy in Autumn: In Memory of Frank Dempster Sherman"

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NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 



C lin t on Sc pllard iBsq. and 
Frederic Fairchild Sherman 
December 18. 1917 



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ELEGY IN AUTUMN 

IN MEMORY OF 
pRAin: Dempsi^r Sherman 

BY 

Clinton Scoixard 



NEW TORK 

Frederic Fairchild Sherman 

MCMXVII 



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THE Tii^W YOr^K 
POBLiC LIBRARY 

822301 

ASTOR LttTO:^ KWD 



Copyrigbtt 1917. by 



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ELEGY IN AUTUMN 



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I 

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 



D 

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. 



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m 

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^. 



IV 
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. 



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V 
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 ! 



VI 
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 



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vn 

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. 



Vffl 
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. 



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K 
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. 



X 

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. 



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XI 
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; — 



xn 

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. 



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xm 

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. 



XIV 
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. 



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XV 
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. 



XVI 
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. 



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xvu 

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 



xvni 

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. 



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XK 
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. 



XX 
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. 



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XXI 

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. 



xxn 

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 ! 



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xxm 

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. 



XXIV 

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 



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ONE HUNDRED AND FIETT COPIES 
PRIVATBLT PRINTED ON ITALIAN HANDS 
MADE PAPER DURING OCTOBER MCMXVII 



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