() (Ada Cambridge (Cross))


So stillso still! Only the endless sighing
   Of sad Æolian harp-notes overhead;
Only the soft mass-music for the dying;
   Only the requiem for the newly dead!

So strangely dim!the grey mist on the heather,
   The chill cloud-twilight in the wind-stripped bowers,
Where gold and scarlet sunlights lay together
   On harvest fruit and summer wealth of flowers.

So empty now!only the dead leaves sifting
   The dead brown berries underneath the trees;
Only my fair dead treasures idly drifting
   About my footsteps in the autumn breeze.
All over now! No flowers that must be tended
   Are left to grow upon the open plain;
No fruits to ripen; for the harvest's ended
   There's no more need for either sun or rain.

The infinite hope, the boundless, strong endeavour,
   The love and joy I never thought to sum,
The precious things that were to last for ever
   All gather'd now, and nothing more to come!

Only the shroud of snow, the white star-tapers,
   The passionate storm-winds, wailing in the air;
Only the icy rain and tearful vapours,
   Only the winter darkness of despair!

So still, so sweet! with tender breezes blowing
   Amongst the hills and o'er the Lowland sod,
And golden drifts of dead leaves softly strowing
   The seed-graves hollow'd by the hands of God.

So grey and calm! the crimson glory faded
   From this low sky, pale blue and purple-barred
This placid sea, with steel and silver shaded
   This fair earth, now with autumn furrows scarred.

In the decay such chasten'd beauty blending
   Beauty late-born of peace, and hope, and rest,
As in a saintly life when near the ending,
   When all its strife and labour has been blest.

The harvest-time is past. But there remaineth
   The well-stored treasure-housethe hidden seed
That dead leaves help to nourish, which containeth
   The germ of a new life that's life indeed.

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