William Shakespeare - John Keats - Percy Bysshe Shelley - Maxwell Anderson - John Donne - Carol Bishop Hipps - George Eliot - Samuel Butler - Elizabeth Lawrence - Albert Camus - Alfred Lord Tennyson - P D James - Archie Manning - Matsuo Bash - Thomas Hood - A E Housman - Hunter S Thompson - Robert Frost - Vernon Duke - D H Lawrence - Jerome K Jerome - William Blake - George Eliot - Samuel Butler - Paul Verlaine - F Scott Fitzgerald -
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend the apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er brimm’d their clammy cells ... John Keats, Ode to Autumn
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers. ibid.
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river swallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies. ibid.
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. ibid.
The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past – there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which though the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been! Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
O Wild West Wind, though breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing ...
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams ...
The triumph of the prophecy! O, Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind. Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822, Ode to the West Wind
But it’s a long, long while
From May to December;
And the days grow short
When you reach September.
Maxwell Anderson, September Song
No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace,
As I have seen in one autumnal face. John Donne, 1572-1631, Elegies: The Autumnal
Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and autumn. Carol Bishop Hipps
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot
Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh
Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. Elizabeth Lawrence
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower. Albert Camus
Tears, idle tears,
I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair,
Rise in the heart and gather in the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more. Alfred Lord Tennyson, ‘Tears, Idle Tears’
It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. P D James
Deep inside, we’re still the boys of autumn, that magic time of the year that once swept us onto America’s fields. Archie Manning
Early autumn –
rice field, ocean,
one green. Matsuo Bash, 1644-1696, Japanese poet
I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence. Thomas Hood, ‘Ode: Autumn’
Then there was the bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in Place Contrescarpe. The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Cafe des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over the heat and the smoke inside. It was a sad, evilly run cafe where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and I kept away from it because of the smell of dirty bodies and the soul smell of drunkenness. (Autumn & Paris & Winter) Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast p1
With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.
In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed. ibid. p28
Give me a land of boughs in leaf
A land of trees that stand;
Where trees are fallen there is grief;
I love no leafless land. A E Housman
It is Autumn, as you know, and things are beginning to die. It is so wonderful to be out in the crisp Fall air, with the leaves turning gold and the grass turning brown and the warmth going out of the sunlight and big hot fires in the fireplace while Buddy rakes the lawn. We see a lot of bombs on TV because we watch it a lot more, now that the days get shorter and shorter, and darkness comes so soon, and all the flowers die from freezing. Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S Thompson
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane. Robert Frost, My November Guest
Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-knighting.
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds
In canyons of steel
They’re making me feel
I’m home. Vernon Duke, Autumn in New York, from musical Thumbs Up 1934
It’s autumn ... and everybody feels like a disembodied spirit then. D H Lawrence, Sons and Lovers
I love the chill October days, when the brown leaves lie thick and sodden underneath your feet ... the evenings in late autumn time, when the white mist creeps across the fields, making it seem as though old Earth, feeling the night air cold to its poor bones, were drawing ghostly bedclothes round its withered limbs. Jerome K Jerome, Silhouette