June Leaves and Autumn

I

Lush summer lit the trees to green;
But in the ditch hard by
Lay dying boughs some hand unseen
Had lopped when first with festal mien
They matched their mates on high.
It seemed a melancholy fate
That leaves but brought to birth so late
Should rust there, red and numb,
In quickened fall, while all their race
Still joyed aloft in pride of place
With store of days to come.

II

At autumn-end I fared that way,
And traced those boughs fore-hewn
Whose leaves, awaiting their decay
In slowly browning shades, still lay
Where they had lain in June
And now, no less embrowned and curst

Than if they had fallen with the first,
Nor known a morning more,
Lay there alongside, dun and sere,
Those that at my last wandering here
Had length of days in store.

19 November 1898
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