WHEN Advent dawns with lessening days,
While earth awaits the angels’ hymn;
When bare as branching coral sways
In whistling winds each leafless limb;
When spring is but a spendthrift’s dream,
And summer’s wealth a wasted dower,
Nor dews nor sunshine may redeem,–
Then autumn coins his Golden Flower.
Soft was the violet’s vernal hue,
Fresh was the rose’s morning red,
Full-orbed the stately dahlia grew,–
All gone! their short-lived splendors shed.
The shadows, lengthening, stretch at noon;
The fields are stripped, the groves are dumb;
The frost-flowers greet the icy moon,–
Then blooms the bright chrysanthemum.
The stiffening turf is white with snow,
Yet still its radiant disks are seen
Where soon the hallowed morn will show
The wreath and cross of Christmas green;
As if in autumn’s dying days
It heard the heavenly song afar,
And opened all its glowing rays,
The herald lamp of Bethlehem’s star.
Orphan of summer, kindly sent
To cheer the fading year’s decline,
In all that pitying Heaven has lent
No fairer pledge of hope than thine.
Yes! June lies hid beneath the snow,
And winter’s unborn heir shall claim
For every seed that sleeps below
A spark that kindles into flame.
Thy smile the scowl of winter braves
Last of the bright-robed, flowery train,
Soft sighing o’er the garden graves,
“Farewell! farewell! we meet again!”
So may life’s chill November bring
Hope’s golden flower, the last of all,
Before we hear the angels sing
Where blossoms never fade and fall!