Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

AUTUMN'S CHANT


 

From the far-off, mighty rivers,
Drifting, shifting, glad-life givers,
    Throbbing, pulsing, to the lakes;
From the far-off, blue-peaked mountains,
From the forest-girdled fountains,
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    Where the sunlight leaps and shakes;
    From the spaces wild and dreary,
    From the cornlands far and near,
    Comes the Autumn’s miserere,
    Comes the death song of the year.
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Comes the music of far voices,
Where the season rich, rejoices,
    Half reluctant now to go:—
Over lands of dreams and vapors,
Where wild hosts with half burnt tapers
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    Light her to the days of snow;
    Over fields all yellow, burning
    With their store of ruddy heat,
    Under forests, ripe and turning
    Red and gold beneath her feet.
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From the golden, undulating
Wheat fields, where the glad, pulsating
    Gleam of mowers, moves along—
Through the day so rich and heavy,
Belled with bees a pollened bevy,

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    Jargoning their honied song;
    Comes the music of far voices
    Dying, swelling, here to me;
    Thuswise all the earth rejoices
    At the year’s maturity.
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From far, northern lakes a-clanging
Note of wild-geese, where low-hanging
    Mists drift over marshes bleak;
In a world of smoke and shadow,
Where, far over wild lake-meadow,

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    Sunsets burn on field and creek;
    Comes with all the lakes far moaning
    On some bare coast bleak and drear,
    Voices wild and sweet intoning
    Music of the dying year.
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From the forest rich and gleaming,
Where the old year sitteth dreaming
    By a smoky, curling brook;
Hour by hour new wonders learning
Like to one who sitteth turning

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    Pages of some magic book:
    Sound of nuts and dead leaves falling,
    Lonely note of crows and jays,
    Lowing herd and squirrel calling,
    Chanteth sweet of Autumn days.
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