THE GLORY OF AUTUMN
" What sport shall we have in brown October, when the sere underbrush is bare of leaves to mar the sportsman's aim; when the cool, dewy earth sends up the odor of the game in fresh streams to the setter's keen and sagacious nose; when the pure air braces the nerve and fans the brow invitingly!"
THE generous autumn days are come,
The merriest of the year,
With dewy morns and rosy eves,
And harvest moonlight clear;
The hoar-frost shineth thin and white
O'er mountain and o'er plain;
It gems the faded grass
And the stubble of the grain.
What time the day-dawn flecks the east,
A gauzy, filmy veil
Floats o'er the crystal river,
In the hollow of the vale.
The bearded oats, the juicy wheat,
Have all been gather'd in,
The latest crispy husk of corn
Is garner'd in the bin.
The apples of the orchard,
Red with the sun's caress,
Enrich the farmers' cellars
Or feed the cider-press.
Now is the season's carnival,
The fete-time of the year,
When the blithe October breezes
Blow bracingly aud clear.
When husking frolics in the barn,
Or the flooding broad moonlight.
Prolong with jocund dance and song
The watches of the night.
For all the toil of seed-time
And the harvest now are o'er,
Save where the flail resoundeth
On the busy threshing-floor.
Now when the genial breezes
Sweep through the fading wood,
Tossing the scarlet maples,
And the oak leaves many-hued;
Ere dawns the day o'er hill and lawn,
The sportsman takes his way
To upland moor, or woodland haunts,
Or open breezy bay.
The outlying deer are now afoot,
To browse the dew-wet grass,
Or pause to taste the crystal brook,
And lakelet clear as glass;
The brown quail in the cedar copse
Leads forth her hungry brood.
The partridge whirs through open glade,
Or through the hemlock wood.
Now o'er the salt and sedgy marsh,
Where bends the rustling reed,
The piper and the plover
On the briny shallows feed.
The black-duck and the widgeon
Are swimming in the bay,
The geese and brant in black platoons
Defile their long array.
It is the sportsman's festival,
The year's most glorious time,
When the dahlia and the aster
Are in their golden prime,
When the rainbow-painted forests
Are resplendently aflame,
When every healthful breath we draw
Adds vigor to the frame.
The sweetest of our Northern bards
Hath sung in mournful lay
Of the dreary time of autumnó
Of the " sad " October day.
But methinks the changeful glories,
The sport, the harvest cheer,
Make the autumnal season
The brightest of the year.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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