Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
959. Helen
 
By Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (“Susan Coolidge”)
 
 
THE AUTUMN seems to cry for thee,
  Best lover of the autumn days!
Each scarlet-tipped and wine-red tree,
  Each russet branch and branch of gold,
Gleams through its veil of shimmering haze,        5
  And seeks thee as they sought of old:
For all the glory of their dress,
They wear a look of wistfulness.
 
In every wood I see thee stand,
  The ruddy boughs above thy head,        10
And heaped in either slender hand
  The frosted white and amber ferns,
The sumach’s deep, resplendent red,
  Which like a fiery feather burns,
And, over all, thy happy eyes,        15
Shining as clear as autumn skies.
 
I hear thy call upon the breeze,
  Gay as the dancing wind, and sweet,
And, underneath the radiant trees,
  O’er lichens gray and darkling moss,        20
Follow the trace of those light feet
  Which never were at fault or loss,
But, by some forest instinct led,
Knew where to turn and how to tread.
 
Where art thou, comrade true and tried?        25
  The woodlands call for thee in vain,
And sadly burns the autumn-tide
  Before my eyes, made dim and blind
By blurring, puzzling mists of pain.
  I look before, I look behind;        30
Beauty and loss seem everywhere,
And grief and glory fill the air.
 
Already, in these few short weeks,
  A hundred things I leave unsaid,
Because there is no voice that speaks        35
  In answer, and no listening ear,
No one to care now thou art dead!
  And month by month, and year by year,
I shall but miss thee more, and go
With half my thought untold, I know.        40
 
I do not think thou hast forgot,
  I know that I shall not forget,
And some day, glad, but wondering not,
  We two shall meet, and, face to face,
In still, fair fields unseen as yet,        45
  Shall talk of each old time and place,
And smile at pain interpreted
By wisdom learned since we were dead.
 

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