Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Southern States: Shenandoah, the Valley, Va.
A November Nocturne
Margaret Junkin Preston (1820–1897)
 
THE AUTUMN air sweeps faint and chill
Across yon maple-crested hill;
          And on my ear
          Falls, tingling clear,
A strange, mysterious, woodland thrill.        5
 
From outmost twig, from scarlet crown,
Untouched with yet a tinct of brown,
          Reluctant, slow,
          As loath to go,
The loosened leaves come wavering down.        10
 
And not a hectic trembler there,
In its decadence doomed to share
          The fate of all,
          But in its fall
Flings something sob-like on the air.        15
 
No drift or dream of passing bell,
Dying afar in twilight dell,
          Hath any heard
          Whose echoes stirred
A tenderer pathos of farewell.        20
 
A silent shiver, as of pain,
Goes quivering through each sapless vein;
          And there are moans
          Whose undertones
Are sad as autumn-midnight rain.        25
 
If then, without a dirge-like sigh,
No lightest-clinging leaf can die,—
          Let him who saith
          Decay and death
Need bring no heart-break, tell me why.        30
 
Each graveyard gives the answer: there
I read “Resurgam” everywhere;
          So easy said
          Above the dead,—
So weak to anodyne despair!        35
 
 
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