Autumn

I at my window sit, and see
Autumn his russet fingers lay
On ev'ry leaf of ev'ry tree.
I call, but Summer will not stay.

She flies, the boasting goddess flies,
And, pointing where th' espaliers shoot,
‘Deserve my parting gift,’ she cries,
‘I take the leaves but not the fruit.’

Let me the parting gift improve,
And emulate the just reply,
As life's short seasons swift remove,
Ere fixed in Winter's frost I lie.

Health, beauty, vigour now decline,
The pride of Summer's splendid day,
Leaves, which the stem must now resign,
The mournful prelude of decay.

But let fair Virtue's fruit remain,
Though Summer with my leaves be fled;
Then, not despised, I'll not complain,
But cherish Autumn in her stead.
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