Toward even, when the day leans down
To kiss the upturned face of night,
Out just beyond the loud-voiced town
I know a spot of calm delight.
Like crimson arrows from a quiver
The red rays pierce the waters flowing,
While we go dreaming, singing, rowing
The hills, like some glad mocking-bird,
Send back our laughter and our singing,
While faint–and yet more faint is heard
The steeple bells all sweetly ringing.
Some message did the winds deliver
To each glad heart that August night,
All heard, but all heard not aright,
Night falls as in some foreign clime,
Between the hills that slope and rise.
So dusk the shades at landing-time,
We could not see each other’s eyes.
We only saw the moonbeams quiver
Far down upon the stream! that night
The new moon gave but little light
How dusky were those paths that led
Up from the river to the hall.
The tall trees branching overhead
Invite the early shades that fall.
In all the glad blithe world, oh, never
Were hearts more free from care than when
We wandered through those walks, we ten,
So soon, so soon, the changes came.
This August day we two alone,
On that same river, not the same,
Dream of a night for ever flown.
Strange distances have come to sever
The hearts that gaily beat in pleasure,
Long miles we cannot cross or measure –
We’ll pluck two leaves, dear friend, to-day.
The green, the russet! seems it strange
So soon, so soon, the leaves can change!
Ah me! so runs all life away.
This night-wind chills me, and I shiver;
The Summer-time is almost past.
One more good-bye–perhaps the last