October -

Nature now spreads around, in dreary hue,
A pall to cover all that summer knew;
Yet, in the poet's solitary way,
Some pleasing objects for his praise delay;
Something that makes him pause and turn again,
As every trifle will his eye detain: —
The free horse rustling through the stubble field;
And cows at lair in rushes, half conceal'd;
With groups of restless sheep who feed their fill,
O'er clear'd fields rambling wheresoe'er they will;

The hedger stopping gaps, amid the leaves,
Which time, o'er-head, in every colour weaves;
The milkmaid pausing with a timid look,
From stone to stone, across the brimming brook;
The cotter journeying with his noisy swine,
Along the wood-side where the brambles twine,
Shaking from mossy oaks the acorns brown,
Or from the hedges red haws dashing down;
The nutters, rustling in the yellow woods,
Who teaze the wild things in their solitudes;

The hunters, from the thicket's avenue,
In scarlet jackets, startling on the view,
Skimming a moment o'er the russet plain,
Then hiding in the motley woods again;
Then hiding in the motley woods again;
The plopping gun's sharp, momentary shock,
Which echo bustles from her cave to mock;
The bawling song of solitary boys,
Journeying in rapture o'er their dreaming joys,
Haunting the hedges in their reveries,
For wilding fruit that shines upon the trees;

The wild wood music from the lonely dell,
Where merry Gipseys o'er their raptures dwell,
Haunting each common's wild and lonely nook,
Where hedges run as crooked as the brook,

Shielding their camps beneath some spreading oak,
And but discovered by the curling smoke
Puffing, and peeping up, as wills the breeze,
Between the branches of the coloured trees: —
Such are the pictures that October yields,
To please the poet as he walks the fields;
While Nature — like fair woman in decay,
Whom pale consumption hourly wastes away —
Upon her waning features, winter chill,
Wears dreams of beauty that seem lovely still.
Among the heath-furze still delights to dwell,
Quaking, as if with cold, the harvest bell;
And mushroom-buttons each moist morning brings,
Like spots of snow-shine in dark fairy rings.

Wild shines each hedge in autumn's gay parade;
And, where the eldern trees to autumn fade,
The glossy berry picturesquely cleaves
Its swarthy bunches 'mid the yellow leaves,
On which the tootling robin feeds at will,
And coy hedge-sparrow stains its little bill.

The village dames, as they get ripe and fine,
Gather the bunches for their " eldern wine; "
Which, bottled up, becomes a rousing charm,
To kindle winter's icy bosom warm;
And, with its merry partner, nut-brown beer,
Makes up the peasant's Christmas-keeping cheer.

Like to a painted map the landscape lies;
And wild above, shine the cloud-thronged skies,
That chase each other on with hurried pace,
Like living things, as if they ran a race.
The winds, that o'er each sudden tempest brood,
Waken like spirits in a startled mood;
Flirting the sear leaves on the bleaching lea,
That litter under every fading tree;
And pausing oft, as falls the patting rain;
Then gathering strength, and twirling them again,
Till drops the sudden calm: — the hurried mill
Is stopt at once, and every noise is still;

Save crows, that from the oak trees quawking spring,
Dashing the acorns down with beating wing,
Waking the wood's short sleep in noises low,
Patting the crimpt brakes withering brown below;
And whirr of starling crowds, that dim the light
With mimic darkness, in their numerous flight;
Or shrilly noise of puddocks' feeble wail,
As in slow circles round the woods they sail;
While huge black beetles, revelling alone,
In the dull evening hum their heavy drone.
These trifles linger through the shortening day,
To cheer the lone bard's solitary way;
Till surly Winter comes with biting breath,
And strips the woods, and numbs the scene with death;
Then all is still o'er wood and field and plain,
As nought had been, and nought would be again.
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