Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – 1807-1882
With what a glory comes and goes the year!
The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life’s newness, and earth’s garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves; the purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings;
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear.
Update: I was told these were gardenias, but I kept thinking they look more like the magnolias I grew up with in Florida. I still think they’re white magnolias. If anyone knows for sure, let me know in the comments. Thanks.
I have four good size Gardenia trees on one side of my house and they are beginning to bloom. So beautiful and the scent is like heaven. One of my favorite flowers.
“SONG OF THE RIVER”
The snow melts on the mountain
And the water runs down to the spring,
And the spring in a turbulent fountain,
With a song of youth to sing,
Runs down to the riotous river,
And the river flows on to the sea,
And the water again
Goes back in rain
To the hills where it used to be.
And I wonder if Life’s deep mystery
Isn’t much like the rain and the snow
Returning through all eternity
To the places it used to know.
For life was born on the lofty heights
And flows in a laughing stream
To the river below
Whose onward flow
Ends in a peaceful dream.
And so at last,
When our life has passed
And the river has run its course,
It again goes back,
O’er the selfsame track,
To the mountain which was its source.
So why prize life
Or why fear death,
Or dread what is to be?
The river ran its allotted span
Till it reached the silent sea.
Then the water harked back to the mountaintop
To begin its course once more.
So we shall run the course begun
Till we reach the silent shore,
Then revisit earth in a pure rebirth
From the heart of the virgin snow.
So don’t ask why we live or die,
Or wither, or when we go,
Or wonder about the mysteries
That only God may know.
by William Randolph Hearst