“I dig old books.”
Quotations about Autumn
Welcome to my perpetually-in-progress collection of quotations about autumn, with lots of long-forgotten excerpts from the 1800s (which I personally consider to be the hey-hey-
Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees. ~Faith Baldwin, American Family
The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept.
How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days! There are exceptions, of course. The leaves of most of the fruit-trees fade and wither and fall ingloriously. They bequeath their heritage of color to their fruit. Upon it they lavish the hues which other trees lavish upon their leaves....
But in October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present! The whole body of the air seems enriched by their calm, slow radiance. They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer.
~John Burroughs, "The Falling Leaves," Under the Maples
Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves.
~Humbert Wolfe, P.L.M.: Peoples, Landfalls, Mountains, 1936
Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. ~Hal Borland
But you can’t plead with autumn. No. The midnight wind stalked through the woods, hooted to frighten you, swept everything away for the approaching winter, whirled the leaves. ~Evgeniĭ Ivanovich Zami͡a︡tin/Yevgeny Zamyatin
'Tis Autumn! and the short'ning day,
The chilly evening's sober gray,
And winds that hoarser blow;
The fading foliage of the trees,
Which rustles sere in every breeze,
The approach of Winter show.
~Bernard Barton, "Stanzas on the Approach of Winter" (stanza I), Napoleon and Other Poems, 1822
October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in the aftermaths. Anne reveled in the world of color about her.... "I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?..." ~Lucy Maud Montgomery
Winter is dead; spring is crazy; summer is cheerful and autumn is wise! ~Mehmet Murat ildan
Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
’Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heartstrings that play soft and low...
If you stand still outside you can hear it... Winter’s footsteps, the sound of falling leaves. ~Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game) written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata
The music of the far-away summer flutters around the Autumn seeking its former nest. ~Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds
Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.... I thought of the future, and spoke of the past. ~Truman Capote
Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him. ~Hal Borland
On the whole I take it that middle age is a happier period than youth. In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter morning and evening—no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air. ~Alexander Smith, "An Essay on an Old Subject"
Catch a vista of maples in that long light and you see Autumn glowing through the leaves.... The promise of gold and crimson is there among the branches, though as yet it is achieved on only a stray branch, an impatient limb or an occasional small tree which has not yet learned to time its changes. ~Hal Borland
[T]here is a harmony
In autumn, and a luster in its sky...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley
I cannot write of things which even impassioned breath cannot utter. Autumn is coming with its days of gold, its days of reverie and of you—oh, such delightful hours that my heart burns within me at the anticipation. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens
The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest eve...
~William Blake (1757-1827), "To Autumn"
O’ pumpkin pie, your time has come ’round again and I am autumnrifically happy! ~Terri Guillemets
In autumn, don’t go to jewelers to see gold; go to the parks! ~Mehmet Murat ildan
Such days of autumnal decline hold a strange mystery which adds to the gravity of all our moods. Every step that Time takes imprints upon the fields as they grow bare and brown... ~Charles Nodier, Trilby, ou le lutin d’Argail/Trilby: The Fairy of Argyle, 1822
For anyone who lives in the oak-and-maple area of New England there is a perennial temptation to plunge into a purple sea of adjectives about October. ~Hal Borland
Just after the death of the flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season,
When nature is all aglow—
Aglow with a mystical spendour
That rivals the brightness of spring,
Aglow with a beauty more tender
Than aught which fair summer could bring....
~Emeline B. Smith, "Indian Summer"
[A]utumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness, that season which has drawn from every poet, worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling. She occupied her mind as much as possible in such like musings and quotations... ~Jane Austen
It is about five o’clock in an evening that the first hour of spring strikes — autumn arrives in the early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day. ~Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn. ~Leo Tolstoy, to Nikolay Strakhov
Then summer fades and passes, and October comes. Will smell smoke then, and feel an unsuspected sharpness, a thrill of nervous, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure. ~Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again
It was a late-October Sunday, the leaves tinged with brown, and the air crisp in a way that made you shiver if you stood still too long. ~Joe Kita, "Growing Old and Staying Young," Wisdom of Our Fathers, 1999
I step outside and the chilly air tightens the skin on my bare arms. Summer has ended all too quickly, and some of the leaves on the trees have already started to burn with the colors of fall. Fall colors.... so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary. ~Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference
The harvest moon hangs round and high
It dodges clouds high in the sky,
The stars wink down their love and mirth
The Autumn season is giving birth.
Oh, it must be October...
~Pearl N. Sorrels
Around and around the house the leaves fall thick—but never fast, for they come circling down with a dead lightness that is sombre and slow. Let the gardener sweep and sweep the turf as he will, and press the leaves into full barrows, and wheel them off, still they lie ankle-deep. ~Charles Dickens, Bleak House
O autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof, there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
~William Blake (1757-1827), "To Autumn"
"I’m dreading fall. It is a terrifying season," he says... "Everything shriveling up and dying." I don’t know how to answer. Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale. I’ve never thought to be frightened of it. ~Lauren DeStefano, Wither
There he goes, in his long russet surtout, sweeping down yonder gravel-walk, beneath the trees, like a yellow leaf in autumn wafted along by a fitful gust of wind. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, of Monsieur d’Argentville
The world is tired, the year is old,
The faded leaves are glad to die...
~Sara Teasdale, "November"
Somewhere along the way, I realized that the new year doesn't begin for me in January. The new and fresh has always come for me in the Fall. Ironically, as leaves are falling like rain, crunching beneath my feet with finality, I am vibrating with the excitement of birth and new beginnings.... My year begins in Autumn. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, "On birthday cake and pouring oil," 2013 November 5th, www.wildthymecreative.com
I cherish the loneliness of autumn.... I am forty, I have become mortal. I have no further psychic, emotional, or intellectual need to prolong summer seasons, and it is only when autumn begins its play that I can truly focus on the rich and vital life I am living. All of a sudden I grow alert. October is a hallelujah! reverberating in my body year-round.... The air is dusty, it smells of dry pine needles; yet I sense imminent ice in the clear blue sky.... How I appreciate everything... fully! After all, tomorrow this reprieve will be buried by blizzards, crushed under slabs of doomsday ice. I cannot waste a minute indoors! I must take advantage of this gift, wedged so tentatively between summer’s hectic somnolence and winter’s harsh apogee.... Each perfect day, I know, is going to be the last beautiful day of autumn. ~John Nichols, The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn
After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things....
It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause...
Autumn bowed to place a beautiful crown on the Queen of Morning, and her velvet robes sway merrily in the chilly breeze. ~Terri Guillemets
It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
the turning of a leaf
dancing in an autumn sun,
and brilliant shades of crimson
glowing when a day is done...
~Hazelmarie "Mattie" Elliott, "A Breath of Heaven"
Ah, yes, autumn, when the trees blush at the thought of stripping naked in public. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
There is no season in all the year so beautiful, so radiant with glory, as the early autumn. There is no time when the human soul drinks in so fully the glory and beauty of nature. All objects of beauty are more beautiful while passing away from us. The closing up of a beautiful life—the fading of the holy stars in the dim light of morning—the ending of a quiet summer day and the passing away of the bright summer glory, are all more sweet and lovely as they are lost to us. The death-glow always beautifies anything that wears the trace of beauty ere it goes back to nothingness. We do not understand the secret of this principle, yet we know that it is some law of the infinite mind. ~Northern Advocate
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day!
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree...
Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of completion; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with Autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the substance of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon? ~Hal Borland
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus
I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it. ~Lee Maynard
Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings. ~Terri Guillemets
There ought to be a way to combine "autumn" and "morning" into one word, the combination of the two is special enough to be its own entity. ~Terri Guillemets
But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you. ~Stephen King, ’Salem’s Lot
[Fall] hurries you along as you walk the roads, crunching the leaves that have fallen in mad and variegated drifts. The wind makes you ache in some place that is deeper than your bones. It may be that it touches something old in the human soul, a chord of race memory that says Migrate or die—migrate or die. ~Stephen King, ’Salem’s Lot
And if there are no cars or planes, and if no one’s Uncle John is out in the wood lot west of town banging away at a quail or pheasant; if the only sound is the slow beat of your own heart, you can hear another sound, and that is the sound of life winding down to its cyclic close, waiting for the first winter snow to perform last rites. ~Stephen King, ’Salem’s Lot
Behold, in yon stripped Autumn, shivering gray,
Earth knows no desolation,
She smells regeneration
In the moist breath of decay.
~George Meredith (1828–1909), "Ode to the Spirit of Earth in Autumn"
We are reformers in the spring and summer, but in autumn we stand by the old. Reformers in the morning, and conservers at night. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
...September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson
Autumn is the hush before winter. ~French Proverb
I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints. ~Henry David Thoreau, Oct. 12, 1852
That soft autumnal time...
The woodland foliage now
Is gather’d by the wild November blast...
And the bright flowers are gone.
But these, these are thy charms—
Mild airs and temper’d light upon the lea;
And the year holds no time within its arms
That doth resemble thee....
The year’s last, loveliest smile,
Thou comest to fill with hope the human heart,
And strengthen it to bear the storms a while,
Till winter days depart....
Far in a shelter’d nook
I’ve met, in these calm days, a smiling flower,
A lonely aster, trembling by a brook,
At the quiet noontides’ hour:
And something told my mind,
That, should old age to childhood call me back,
Some sunny days and flowers I still might find
Along life’s weary track.
~John Howard Bryant (1807-1902), "The Indian Summer"
After the first autumn rains, how inimitable the beauty of days—the fall colors, not yet faded, washed out, in the winter deluge, but dripping, glistening, every crystal drop refracting the hue it trickles over. Running, draining color, brighter before the soil takes back again the positive red and yellow and blue to weave into the misty textures of spring. ~Virginia Garland, "The Rain," Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908
Adieu to those more cheerful hours,
Spent amid Spring's unfolding flowers,
Or Summer's soothing shade;
A few short weeks,—and then adieu
To fields and groves of changeful hue,
By Autumn's hand array'd!
~Bernard Barton, "Stanzas on the Approach of Winter" (stanza II), Napoleon and Other Poems, 1822
For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. ~Edwin Way Teale, Autumn Across America
Thanksgiving is the winding up of autumn. The leaves are off the trees, except here and there on a beech or an oak; there is nothing left on the boughs but a few nuts and empty birds’ nests. The earth looks desolate, and it will be a comfort to have the snow on the ground, and to hear the merry jingle of the sleigh-bells. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves —
Welcome wool sweaters.
The hush comes with the deepening of Autumn; but it comes gradually. Our ears are attuned to it, day by quieter day. But even now, if one awakens in the deep darkness of the small hours, one can hear it, a foretaste of Winter silence. It’s a little painful now, and a little lonely because it is so strange. ~Hal Borland
Wild is the music of autumnal winds
Amongst the faded woods.
Time remorselessly rumbles down the corridors and streets of our lives. But it is not until autumn that most of us become aware that our tickets are stamped with a terminal destination... that whatever can be done with our thoughts, words, and actions must be done soon. As we hypnotically watch the steadily diminishing reserve of sand in Life’s hourglass, the instincts of a miser surface. Life is now savored, sipped as with a fine nineteenth-century French wine.... It is during the autumn of our lives that this inner vintage begins to sculpt and paint the face as it seeps through the skin from within. ~Joe L. Wheeler, Remote Controlled: How TV Affects You and Your Family
To her bier
Comes the year
Not with weeping and distress, as mortals do,
But, to guide her way to it,
All the trees have torches lit;
Blazing red the maples shine the woodlands through...
~Lucy Larcom, "The Indian Summer"
Fiery colors begin their yearly conquest of the hills, propelled by the autumn winds. Fall is the artist. ~Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game) written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata
Soon the leaves will all be turning,
From their many shades of green,
Into colors bright and gorgeous...
Reds and yellows, browns and orange,
Underneath the smiling sun,
Each leaf vying with the other
In the change they've now begun.
Giving up their Summer wardrobes,
Gladly; joyfully, with glee,
Putting on their Autumn trousseau,
As they leave their mother tree...
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Wedding of the Leaves" (1940s)
It was October again... a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain — amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through. ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
The autumn always gets me badly, as it breaks into colours. I want to go south, where there is no autumn, where the cold doesn’t crouch over one like a snow-leopard waiting to pounce. ~D.H. Lawrence, letter to J.M. Murray, 3rd October 1924
The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees...
~William Blake (1757-1827), "To Autumn"
The Sussex lanes were very lovely in the autumn. I started going for long lone country walks among the spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end, giving myself up to the earth-scents and the sky-winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul. ~Monica Baldwin, I Leap Over the Wall: Contrasts and Impressions After Twenty-Eight Years in a Convent
Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. ~Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh [written in the context of aging
Autumn, gorgeous in yellow and red,
Is the harvest time, when man is led
To garner the fruits of sweat and toil
From dear Mother Earth, the deep rich soil...
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Four Seasons" (1940s)
A moral character is attached to autumnal scenes; the leaves falling like our years, the flowers fading like our hours, the clouds fleeting like our illusions, the light diminishing like our intelligence, the sun growing colder like our affections, the rivers becoming frozen like our lives, all bear secret relation to our destinies. It gave me indescribable pleasure to see the return of the tempestuous season... ~François-René de Chateaubriand, "My Autumn Joys"
Ev’ry season hath its pleasures:
Spring may boast her flow’ry prime,
Yet the vineyard’s ruby treasures
Brighten autumn’s sob’rer time...
Nor regret the blossoms dying,
While we still can taste the fruit.
~Thomas Moore, "Spring and Autumn" [written in the context of aging
The smile that flickers on baby’s lips when he sleeps — does anyone know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumor that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew-washed morning. ~Rabindranath Tagore
The day after the day that I walk out the front door and the air is crisp, with just a hint of the Autumn days ahead, I put cinnamon in my coffee. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com
[A]utumn... is mature, reasonable and serious, it glows moderately and not frivolously.... ~Valentin
Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year. ~Chad Sugg
Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first of September was crisp and golden as an apple... ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Lady Autumn, Queen of the Harvest,
I have seen You in the setting Sun
with Your long auburn tresses...
You sit upon Your throne and watch
the dying fires of the setting Sun
shine forth its final colors in the sky...
Lady Autumn, You are here at last...
It was one of those perfect New York October afternoons, when the explosion of oranges and yellows against the bright blue sky makes you feel like your life is passing through your fingers, that you’ve felt this autumn-feeling before and you’ll probably get to feel it again, but one day you won’t anymore, because you’ll be dead. ~Sarah Dunn, Secrets to Happiness
Autumn is the perfect time to take account of what we’ve done, what we didn’t do, and what we’d like to do next year. ~Author Unknown
October’s the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down —
October is red
And golden and brown.
Winter dies into the spring, to be born again in the autumn. ~Terri Guillemets
Fall, not spring, is the time in this region to clear away dead leaves and branches, to renovate the borders, to start new gardens.... And even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence, A Southern Garden
Spring blossoms are fairy tales, autumn leaves are tragic dramas. ~Mehmet Murat ildan
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief...
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst...
If spring betrays the summer, would autumn never arrive? ~Terri Guillemets
A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves, creates a tapestry of autumn magic upon the emerald carpet of fading summer. ~Judith A. Lindberg
[F]all: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white and silence of winter. Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze. ~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way