Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,

And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,

In the centre of his brazen shield;

Not alone in meadows and green alleys,

On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,

Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink;

Not alone in her vast dome of glory,

Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,

On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;

In the cottage of the rudest peasant,

In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,

Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers ;

In all places, then, and in all seasons,

Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings. Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,

How akin they are to human things

And with childlike, credulous affection

We behold their tender buds expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection,

Emblems of the bright and better land.


I HAVE read, in some old marvellous tale,

Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of spectres pale

Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,

With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream,

The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,

The spectral camp was seen, And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,

The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,

No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,

As clouds with clouds embrace.

But, when the old cathedral bell

Proclaimed the morning prayer, The white pavilions rose and fell

On the alarmed air.

Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army

Uprose the glorious morning-star,

The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,

That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan

Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,

In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam

Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground

The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,

Flows the River of Life between

No other voice, nor sound is there,

In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,

But the rushing of Life's wave.

And, when the solemn and deep church-bell

Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,

The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar

The spectral camp is fled; Faith shineth as a morning-star,

Our ghastly fears are dead.


Yes, the Year is growing old,

And his eye is pale and bleared !
Death, with frosty hand and cold,
Plucks the old man by the beard,

Sorely, — sorely!

The leaves are falling, falling,

Solemnly and slow;
Caw! caw! the rooks are calling,
It is a sound of woe,

A sound of woe!

Through woods and mountain-passes

The winds, like anthems, roll ;
They are chanting solemn masses,
Singing, “Pray for this poor soul,

Pray, - pray!"

And the hooded clouds, like friars,

Tell their beads in drops of rain,
And patier

their doleful prayers ;
But their prayers are all in vain,

All in vain!

There he stands in the foul weather,

The foolish, fond Old Year,
Crowned with wild flowers and with heather,
Like weak, despised Lear,

A king, -- a king!

Then comes the summer-like day,

Bids the old man rejoice!
His joy! his last! Oh, the old man grey
Loveth that ever-soft voice,

Gentle and low.

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To the crimson woods he saith,

To the voice gentle and low Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath,"Pray do not mock me so !

Do not laugh at me!”

And now the sweet day is dead;

Cold in his arms it lies ;
No stain from its breath is spread
Over the glassy skies,

No mist or stain !

Then, too, the Old Year dieth,

And the forests utter a moan,
Like the voice of one who crieth
In the wilderness alone,

“Vex not his ghost!”

Then comes, with an awful roar,

Gathering and sounding on,
The storm-wind from Labrador,
The wind Euroclydon,

The storm-wind !

Howl! howl! and from the forest

Sweep the red leaves away!
Would, the sins that thou abhorrest,
O Soul! could decay,

And be swert away!


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