To the Falling Leaf

Sad but instructive emblem of decay!
To feverish hopes and slumbering fear address'd,
Thy pensive tale a moral has impress'd,
That Youth should read, before the Winter's day;
For come it must hereafter — and it may
Outstrip the " mellowing year: " — go to thy rest,
Pale Beauty of the Wood! no more caress'd!
No more to join the desolated spray! —
Ev'n so man's leaf descends into the dust,
And falls, to rise no more! — But, as the bough,
At Spring's return, another leaf shall find,
And cloath itself again; the good and just
(Tho' naked and bereft their branches now )
To vernal honours will again be join'd,
In leaves — that never shall their fall deplore,
Whose bough the Winter's hand shall touch no more.
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