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Quotations about Autumn


Related Quotes      October      Seasons      Pumpkins      Winter      Weather


Welcome to my perpetually-in-progress collection of quotations about autumn, with lots of long-forgotten excerpts from the 1800s (the hey-hey-hey!-day of beautiful literature). Gleefully grateful thanks to Google Books for the many hours of blissful browsing for some of those harvests, as well as to Michael P. Garofalo of gardendigest.com for letting me borrow a few of his gems. Please enjoy this lovingly compiled page of quotes on autumn, my favorite season! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g


The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale. ~Cornelia L. Tuthill, "Virginia Dare: Or, the Colony of Roanoke," 1840


Velvet shadows come and go,
      Drifting, whisp'ring breezes,
Winged adieus that sadly blow,
      Wave the shadow friezes:
Ghostly branches, bare of leaves,
      Gently bend in sorrow;
Summer's parting kiss deceives—
      Winter comes tomorrow.
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "Autumn," Rainbow Verse: A Book of Helpful Sunny Philosophy, 1919


The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.... September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), "Autumn," The Atlantic Almanac, 1868


Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. 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, letter to Miss Lewis, 1st October 1841


No spring nor summer's beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face....
~John Donne, "Elegy IX: The Autumnal"


Oh how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin... We anxiously anticipate it every year. ~Trader Joe's, Fearless Flyer, October 2010


Besides the autumn poets sing,
      A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze...
~Emily Dickinson


A hidden fire burns perpetually upon the hearth of the world.... In autumn this great conflagration becomes especially manifest. Then the flame that is slowly and mysteriously consuming every green thing bursts into vivid radiance. Every blade of grass and every leaf in the woodlands is cast into the great oven of Nature; and the bright colours of their fading are literally the flames of their consuming. The golden harvest-fields are glowing in the heart of the furnace.... By this autumn fire God every year purges the floor of nature. All effete substances that have served their purpose in the old form are burnt up. Everywhere God makes sweet and clean the earth with fire. ~Hugh Macmillan


falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly
~John Bailey, "Autumn," a haiku year, 2001, oldgreypoet.wordpress.com


[T]he sun declined, and we both fell into twilight silence. Night, which in autumn seems to fall from the sky at once, it comes so quickly, chilled us, and we rolled ourselves in our cloaks... ~Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly, Les Diaboliques


Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees....
Are we not better and at home
In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
A little while, then, let us dream...
~Ernest Dowson (1867–1900), "Autumnal"


Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908


And the Autumn clutches the forests green
In a hasty and eager clasp;
But the leaves are true to the Summer they love,
And they wither and fade in his grasp.
~J.J. Britton (1832–1913), "Death"


The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power. ~Northern Advocate


The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence of things given to us by a bountiful Creator, and not until the shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love, do we see its worth and beauty. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm of nature. While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. Beauty lurks in all the dim old aisles of nature, and we discover it at last. ~Northern Advocate


...Oh, ye Autumn winds,
What tales of mystery ye tell to me.
Of Time and Death, I hear ye whispering
In every leaf that rustles 'neath my feet.
~Fanny Fielding, "Dreaming," 1800s  [pseudonym of a "talented and educated lady" from Virginia —tg]


Magnificent Autumn! He comes not like a pilgrim, clad in russet weeds. He comes not like a hermit, clad in gray. But he comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. His crimson scarf is rent.... The wind.... wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow, and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue.... There is a melancholy and continual roar in the tops of the tall pines.... It is the funeral anthem of the dying year. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Dead leaves heap on the window-sill,
Dead leaves drift on the path below,
And full of wintry, prophetic chill
The dreary tempests of autumn blow.
~Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen, "Married and Gone," The Sunset–song and other Verses, 1902


...I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, 10th October 1842


Come, pensive Autumn, with thy clouds, and storms,
And falling leaves, and pastures lost to flowers;
A luscious charm hangs on thy faded forms,
More sweet than Summer in her loveliest hours...
~John Clare, "To Autumn," The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems, 1821


Autumn is springtime in reverse. ~Terri Guillemets, "Falling up," 1999


Hear them falling, falling, like a whisper of the dead,
Like memory's voices calling, paving the path we tread
With crimson hues and golden, like a mosaic olden.
~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Autumn Leaves," Ouina's Canoe, 1882


Methinks I see the sunset light flooding the river valley, the western hills stretching to the horizon, overhung with trees gorgeous and glowing with the tints of autumn—a mighty flower garden, blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, Frost... ~John Greenleaf Whittier, "Patucket Falls"


Autumn is the season of change. ~Taoist proverb


It is a delightful pastime to sit in the pleasant sunshine of autumn, and gazing from this little spot of free earth over such a landscape, let the imagination luxuriate amid the thrilling associations of the scene! ~H.T. Tuckerman, "San Marino"


The transparent haze which rests upon the mountain-top at noon,—the calmness in the air, and the clearness of the sky, now have a most mysterious influence upon the heart. The "still small voice" of nature makes us thoughtful; and seems to invite us to think upon the swiftness with which our days are passing away. How often at such an hour, have I been startled by the beating of my own heart! And the sunsets of Autumn,—are they not gorgeous beyond description? more so than the brightest dreams of poetry? ~Charles Lanman, "The Dying Year," 1840


[A]rrayed in gypsy dress of pink and gold,
Crest of crimson tint and folds of fading green,
Stand the woods in tranquil beauty as of old,
Stretching into vistas dim and opaline;
When the Year is ripe and mellow it is meet
Earth should echo, "Peace is blessed; rest is sweet."
~C.B. Galbreath, "Autumn Afternoon," This Crimson Flower, In Flanders Field—An Answer, and Other Verse, 1919


      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


There are two times of year: autumn and waiting for autumn. ~Internet meme


The breath of autumn had already passed along the foliage, and a coming death had spread over its hues golden, brown and crimson—a strange gaiety of decay, which, with all its beauty, carries an idea of sadness into one's heart. ~T.H.E., "The German's Daughter," 1840


When autumn dulls the summer skies,
And paler sunshine softly lies
Upon the brown and fallow lands:—
As fairy artists come in bands
To paint with brushes dipped with frost:—
They pay with gold, for verdure lost...
~Vere O. Wallingford (1876–1945), "The Cottonwood Trees," in Poems of Trees, 1932


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


It’s so easy to fall for fall. ~Keith Wynn, @untamed__dreamer, Instagram post, 2019


'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


A beauty lights the fading year... ~Phebe A. Holder, "A Song of October," in The Queries Magazine, October 1890


The placid appearance of the dying year, the softness of the sky, and the warm color of foliage deceive us, and we are always surprised by the first cold weather of the autumn. ~Charles Dudley Warner, Backlog Studies, 1873  [a little altered —tg]


He loved to wander through the amber haze,
Across the meadows, to the upland where
Sat Autumn pensively amid her sheaves,
Marking the alchemy which all too soon
Transmutes to gold the treasure of her leaves,
In the long season's mellow afternoon,
And touches naked boughs wherethrough the sad wind grieves.
~Francis Howard Williams, "A Dreamer," The Flute-Player and Other Poems, 1894


The music of the far-away summer flutters around the Autumn seeking its former nest. ~Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), Stray Birds


When the Year from fruitful labor turns to rest...
Founts of warmth and comfort in my being flow...
~C.B. Galbreath, "Autumn Afternoon," This Crimson Flower, In Flanders Field—An Answer, and Other Verse, 1919


[L]o! the eventide of the year, the melancholy season of Autumn.... the widowed quail, which is shivering on the fallen tree, utters her plaintive cry, causing a momentary sadness to oppress his heart. The oak rears its head above the plain, but is stripped of its foliage,—naked and alone,—a fit emblem of man in the hour of adversity. We see the leaves floating on the bosom of the river, and we feel that such too will soon be our condition. ~Charles Lanman, "The Dying Year," 1840


[T]here is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre 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"


...the world reveals itself in its true dimensions in the Autumn... ~Hal Borland


Look, how the maple o'er a sea of green
Waves in the autumnal wind his flag of red!
First struck of all the forest's spreading screen,
Most beauteous, too, the earliest of her dead.
~Jones Very (1813–1880), "The Frost"


You will find the blue hills... with the autumnal shadows silently sleeping on them, and there will be a glory lingering round the day, so you'll know autumn has been here; and the setting sun will tell you... ~Emily Dickinson, 1851


And myriad leaves, on which the Summer wrote
Her blushing farewell, at my feet were strown.
~Albert Laighton (1829–1887), "In the Woods," c.1859


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


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 splendour
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


Summer's flurry
      Of green is over,
      Apples are ripe,
      Mown is clover.
Colors, ablaze
      On mountains, burn,
      Smolder, and flame
      As the seasons turn.
Harvest moon
      Comes up at dusk,
      Gold as a pumpkin
      Or corn in the husk...
~Harry Behn (1898–1973), "Autumn," The Golden Hive, 1966


Autumn binds poetry in its own withered leaves. ~Terri Guillemets


I walked alone in the depths of Autumn woods;
The ruthless winds had left the maple bare;
The fern was withered, and the sweetbrier's breath
No longer gave its fragrance to the air.
~Albert Laighton (1829–1887), "In the Woods," c.1859


We might call it fall fever, but we don't, perhaps because it is restlessness rather than lassitude. It is more like wanderlust, though the wanderer merely wants to go, to see new places, and the urgency now is to see old, familiar places again. Autumn burnishes the memories as well as the hills. ~Hal Borland, "The Summons," October 1967


Suddenly summer's work is over, and whatever trials there were are done with. My heart is light... I am standing in a new-minted world, summer folded away like a rose pressed in a book. ~Gladys Taber, "Fall," Stillmeadow Sampler, 1959


green-veined leaves suddenly blushing copper
bronze-edged trees swaying in autumn breezes
gold foliage drifting past pewter branches baring all
brass-hued leaflets dying in beauty, falling in grace
~Terri Guillemets, "In the Autumn Wood," 2016


The Season was waning to its close. The gardens showed but little of the ravages of autumn as yet. The noble avenues of trees were still in their glory of fulness and expansive verdure; although here and there a few fallen leaves seemed to have fluttered down to earth as premature heralds of decay. The later flowers were gorgeous in their many-coloured splendour, though their earlier sisters had already lived the best of their lives, and now drooped their heads, as if to hide their blighted charms. ~J. Palgrave Simpson, For Ever and Never, 1884


A glorious crown the year puts on... ~Phebe A. Holder, "A Song of October," in The Queries Magazine, October 1890


This is the feast-time of the year
When hearts grow warm and home more dear;
When Autumn's crimson torch expires
To flash again in winter fires;
And they who tracked October's flight
Through woods with gorgeous hues bedight,
In charmèd circle sit and praise
The goodly log's triumphant blaze.
~Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834–1917), "The Feast-Time of the Year," c.1880


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


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


We do not migrate as the birds do, but I notice there is a change in the rhythm of our life when the season ebbs... There is a quickening in the blood, a restlessness. Suddenly we are full of projects, which may be our own manner of migrating. ~Gladys Taber, "Fall," Stillmeadow Sampler, 1959


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 (1807–1882), "The Sexagenarian," of Monsieur d'Argentville


The sun tires of summer and sighs itself into autumn. ~Terri Guillemets


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," betsygarmon.com, 2013


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 (b.1940), The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn


The tree thrives on its own trash and the seed sprouts in its parent's midden heap. Each new spring grows on autumn's leftovers. ~Hal Borland, "Autumn's Leftovers," November 1975


Sated and weary the Summer is lying,
Dreamily living his youth again,
And the harvest sprites are flitting and flying,
Fanning his brows with the golden grain...
And the flowers fold up from the close dense air,
And a shadowy sleep sits everywhere.
~J.J. Britton (1832–1913), "Death"


Fallen leaves of Tulip Poplar rainplastered everywhere. Autumn's going out with a "splat!" ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2009


The cool, bright days,
The calm, bright days,
With their liberal-hearted noons!
The clear, still nights,
The restful nights,
With their greatening harvest-moons...
~Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834–1917), "In Autumn," c.1864


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 last faded autumn leaflet hangs from a frozen branch, just a short fall from the tree to winter. ~Terri Guillemets


Autumn! sad, sighing, yet most lovely Autumn, again art thou here; and again with feelings "pleasant but mournful to my soul," do I greet thy return. And the strangest feelings of mingled pleasure and pain are awakened at thy approach, though thou excitest emotions less rapturous and fancies less playful, yet hath thy presence for me a solace and a spell unfelt amid the greener verdure, brighter sunbeams and more fragrant flowers of Summer. Dearer to me than the clustering roses of June, are they withered stalk and falling leaf.... And for the heart, the busy, changeful human heart, thou hast a thousand stirring chords, whose vibrations awaken with an electric influence its slumbering sensibilities, and whose sympathetic music responds with all the truth of an echo. ~Elizabeth J. Eames, "An Autumn Reverie," October 1840


...I see
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"


Gilbert and Anne... were sauntering through the shadows of the Haunted Wood. Beyond, the harvest hills were basking in an amber sunset radiance, under a pale, aerial sky of rose and blue. The distant spruce groves were burnished bronze, and their long shadows barred the upland meadows. But around them a little wind sang among the fir tassels, and in it there was the note of autumn. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915


Autumn thanks the sun with an abundant harvest. ~Terri Guillemets


Fall is a crazy dancer—
Look, how he whirls in leaves;
How happy Death is to be stamping with him—
There, on the stricken body
Of grass, of mortal green...
~Mark Van Doren, "Dance of Death," The Autobiography of Mark Van Doren, 1958


Essentially, autumn is the quiet completion of spring and summer. Spring was all eagerness and beginnings, summer was growth and flowering. Autumn is the achievement summarized, the harvested grain, the ripened apple, the grape in the wine press. Autumn is the bright leaf in the woodland, the opened husk on the bittersweet berry, the froth of asters at the roadside. ~Hal Borland, "Autumn," September 1967


Day by day the vine-leaves curl
Revealing the heavily hanging grapes
In tempting clusters of rarest shapes,
That out of the heart of summer grew;
Dusky-purple and amber-white,
Warmed in the nooning and cooled in the night,
Mingled of honey, and sunlight, and dew.
~Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834–1917), "In Autumn," c.1864


The frost has walked across my world,
Has killed the sallows and has curled
The ferns. Ah, Summer, at what cost,
For harvest, you invite the frost!
~Philip Henry Savage (1868–1899), Poems, 1898


Ah, yes, autumn, when the trees blush at the thought of stripping naked in public. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The garden still is green
      And green the trees around,
      But the winds are roaring overhead
      And branches strew the ground.
And to-day on the garden pool
      Floating an autumn leaf;
      How rush the seasons, rush the years,
      And, O, how life is brief!
~Richard Watson Gilder, "Early Autumn," The Atlantic Monthly, July 1908


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...
~Emily Brontë


Autumn breathes in golden sunshine and breathes out a frosty chill. ~Terri Guillemets


Dulled to a drowsy fire, one vaguely sees
The sun in heaven, where this broad, smoky round
Lies ever brooding at the horizon's bound...
[T]hrough damp desolate woodlands' naked trees...
Like sighs from spirits of perished hours, resound
The melancholy melodies of the breeze!
~Edgar Fawcett, "Indian Summer," in The Atlantic Monthly, November 1877


Autumn writes her own poetry,
we are merely observers.
~Terri Guillemets


It was in the declining flush of a beautiful autumn evening, that I stood alone in the quiet solitude of a stately forest's edge. I had wandered long, in the spirit of deep and solemn meditation, through scenes which might well arouse the soul of the poet, or quicken the painter's eye.... The forest was full of rich coloring and exuberant foliage. Scarlet, purple, gold—the different shades of brown, from its darkest and reddest duskiness, to the palest fawn hue—a soft and saddening intermixture of greyish tints, contrasting with the glossy green of the yet unchanged oak, the monarch of trees, and his many and strong wood relatives—and with the bluer verdure of the pines, the silver-lined laurel leaves, and the feathery cedar—all these were mingled to make a splendor gorgeous, yet harmonious, and as I gazed upward at the sun, which beamed, mild and red, through an atmosphere of blue and softening mist, I caught his ruby glance down the glossy green ash-leaves, and thought in my soul that there ought to be, if there were not, an inhabiting spirit for every leaf in the forest, and for every rich sun-gleam that colored and rayed the air, in this glowing and glorious Indian summer! ~Mary Howard, "Mr. Lindsay's Manuscript," c.1840


We followed up the winding road
      Where shore and river kissed each other,
      And Nature's peace our hearts o'erflowed
      That lingering October weather.
Against the backdrop of the pines
      The birch and maple leaned together;
      A flame ran through the blackberry vines
      That lingering October weather.
~Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834–1917), "The Lingering October Weather," Poems, 1889


Autumn mornings:  sunshine and crisp air, birdsong and calmness, year's end and day's beginnings. ~Terri Guillemets


The genial sunlight melts on the hills
The breath of the morning white and cold;
By the wayside bend sprays of aster bloom
And the forest turns to russet and gold...
~C.B. Galbreath, "Autumn Leaves," October 1918


Autumn will come whether or not you enjoyed summer. ~Terri Guillemets


The Autumn Leaves they skip;
When blasts the trees are stripping;
      Bounding, whirling,
      Sweeping, twirling,
      And in wanton
      Mazes curling...
~Thomas Hood


The frosty brightness of the autumn colors faded in the winds of October. By November the red and gold leaves that had heaped the woods road were shriveled and brown. ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), Snow Cloud, 1951


Autumn is Spring turned antique. ~Terri Guillemets


The verse of autumntide is set to soberer measures than that of the other seasons. The evening of the year has come; and as the shadows draw closer with each successive month, the poetry of the season passes by slow degrees from the major key of early September to the sad minor or late November. ~Oscar Fay Adams, September, 1886


There are those who shudder at the approach of Autumn; and who feel a light grief stealing over their spirits, like an October haze, as the evening shadows slant sooner, and longer, over the face of an ending August day. But is not Autumn the Manhood of the year? Is it not the ripest of the seasons? ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons


The edge of autumn frosts with winter's chilled breath. ~Terri Guillemets


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"


Summer plays beneath the sultry sun,
Autumn brings lots of work to be done...
~Terri Guillemets, "Harvest," 2007


Autumn is the hush before winter. ~French proverb


Autumn leaves blaze their swan song of colors and wait for winter to wipe the slate clean. ~Terri Guillemets


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


The matron dignity of Autumn's tread
Can bring with it a joy more grave and deep,
While Nature decks and gilds her funeral bed
Ere yet she sinks in Winter's death-like sleep.
~Fanny Charlotte Wyndham Montgomery (1820–1893), "Moonlight," 1846


...autumn winds shaking color from the trees... ~Terri Guillemets


The day was beautiful. Anne sat down on the old bench in Hester Gray's garden. Before, it had been lovely with narcissus and violets; now golden rod had kindled its fairy torches in the corners and asters dotted it bluely. The mellow air was full of the purr of the sea, and beyond the fields were long hills scarfed with the shadows of autumnal clouds. With the blowing of the west wind, old dreams returned. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915  [a little altered —tg]


It was one of the loveliest days in early autumn, and the general atmosphere had a tendency to subdue every feeling of the heart, and threw me in a thoughtful mood. ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840


That soft autumnal time...
The woodland foliage now
      Is gathered by the wild November blast...
And the bright flowers are gone.
But these, these are thy charms—
      Mild airs, and tempered light upon the lea,
      And the year holds no time within his arms,
      That doth resemble thee....
The year's last, loveliest smile,
      Thou com'st to fill with hope the human heart,
      And strengthen it to bear the storms awhile,
      Till winter's frowns depart....
Far in a sheltered 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"


We are having such lovely weather — the air is sweet and still — now and then a gay leaf falling... a thousand little painters are tingeing hill and dale... autumn is most beautiful... ~Emily Dickinson, 1851


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


So ghostly and strange a look the blurred world wears,
Viewed from this flowerless garden's dreary squares,
That now, while these weird, vaporous days exist,
It would not seem a marvel if where we walk
We met, dim-glimmering on its thorny stalk,
Some pale, intangible rose, with leaves of mist!
~Edgar Fawcett, "Indian Summer," in The Atlantic Monthly, November 1877


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


...but i have lived in autumn too long.
this is the hardest season; when once-growing
things decay and die,
and then remain where they died to torture
the mind with memories of springtime...
~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University


      How plain that death is only the phenomenon of the individual or class! Nature does not recognize it; she finds her own again under new forms without loss. Yet death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident. It is as common as life... Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up. It is the pastime of a full quarter of the year. Dead trees, sere leaves, dried grass and herbs — are not these a good part of our life? And what is that pride of our autumnal scenery but the hectic flush, the sallow and cadaverous countenance of vegetation? its painted throes, with the November air for canvas?
      When we look over the fields we are not saddened because these particular flowers or grasses will wither; for the law of their death is the law of new life.
      Will not the land be in good heart because the crops die down from year to year? The herbage cheerfully consents to bloom, and wither, and give place to a new. So it is with the human plant. We are partial and selfish when we lament the death of the individual, unless our plaint be a pæan to the departed soul, and a sigh, as the wind sighs over the fields, which no shrub interprets into its private grief.
      One might as well go into mourning for every sere leaf; but the more innocent and wiser soul will snuff a fragrance in the gale of autumn, and congratulate Nature upon her health. ~Henry David Thoreau, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1842


Love, though the fallen leaf
Mark, and the fleeting light
And the loud, loitering
Footfall of darkness
Sign, to the heart
Of the passage of destiny,
Here is the ghost
Of a summer that lived for us,
Here is a promise
Of summers to be.
~W. E. Henley, "Rhymes and Rhythms"


It has been said that in human life there are moments worth ages... in the climate of England there are, for the lover of Nature, days which are worth whole months, — I might say — even years. One of these favoured days sometimes occurs in spring-time, when that soft air is breathing over the blossoms and new-born verdure... But it is in autumn that days of such affecting influence most frequently intervene... the lights and shadows are more delicate; the colouring is richer and more finely harmonized; and, in this season of stillness, the ear being unoccupied, or only gently excited, the sense of vision becomes more susceptible of its appropriate enjoyments... The happiest time is when the equinoxial gales are departed; but their fury may probably be called to mind by the sight of a few shattered boughs, whose leaves do not differ in colour from the faded foliage of the stately oaks from which these relics of the storm depend: all else speaks of tranquility; — not a breath of air, no restlessness of insects, and not a moving object perceptible — except the clouds gliding in the depths of the lake... ~William Wordsworth


Wild is the music of the autumnal wind
Among the faded woods; but these blithe notes
Strike the deserted to the heart;—I speak
Of what I know, and what we feel within.
~William Wordsworth


The ash trees grow crimson in color, and lose their summer life in great gouts of blood. The birches touch their frail spray with yellow; the chestnuts drop down their leaves in brown, twirling showers. The beeches crimped with the frost, guard their foliage, until each leaf whistles white, in the November gales. The bitter-sweet hangs its bare, and leaf-less tendrils from rock to tree, and swaps with the weight of its brazen berries. The sturdy oaks, unyielding to the winds, and to the frosts, struggle long against the approaches of the winter; and in their struggles, wear faces of orange, of scarlet, of crimson, and of brown; and finally, yielding to swift winds, — as youth's pride yields to manly duty, — strew the ground with the scattered glories of their summer strength; and warm, and feed the earth, with the debris of their leafy honors. ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons


...the ailanthus, with all its greenness gone, — lifts up its skeleton fingers to the God of Autumn and of storms, — the dog-wood still guards its crown; and the branches which stretched their white canvas in April now bear up a spire of bloody tongues, that lie against the leafless woods, like a tree on fire. ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons


Autumn leaves
Poets breathless
~Terri Guillemets


The golden days! the golden days!
Warm with sunshine and dreamy with haze;
Warm with the sunshine and cool with the breeze!
Like troops of tropical butterflies
Clouds of leaves from the gorgeous trees
      Flutter and fall,
And cover the earth with splendid dyes
Matching the marvels of sunset skies.
~Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834–1917), "In Autumn," c.1864


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"


The autumn with which we live is as variable as the wind, the weather, the land itself... Go to northern Maine and you can walk with frost. Go to Carolina and you can bask in late summer sun. Travel north or south and you touch the year in another place. Stay where you are and it comes to you in its own time... Leave the equinox to the record-keepers and know autumn where you find it, when it comes. ~Hal Borland, "Autumn," September 1967


Autumn is the antidote to stifling summer. ~Terri Guillemets, "Remedy falls," 2006


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


Autumn air ignites the heart
with crisp leaved dreams returning
where flame and glory recklessly
pile memories for burning!
~Lorraine Babbitt, "Phantom Fires," Arizona Highways, November 1970


Early autumn's peaceful slant of morning light — the first soul calm since late spring's farewell breezes. ~Terri Guillemets


And in my heart, sweet Autumn, thou art the awakener of many, many things. At thy touch the deep fountain of memory is stirred, and its shadowy bank is thronged with many cherished images and hallowed recollections of the Past! ~Elizabeth J. Eames, "An Autumn Reverie," October 1840


[A] shudder crawls thro' the darkening skies,
And the clouds knit close, like a leaden wall,
And thicker and thicker the red leaves fall...
~J.J. Britton (1832–1913), "Death"


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 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


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 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Autumn doesn't always promise that Winter will come, but she works hard until every colored leaf has reached its destination. ~Terri Guillemets, "Autumnus opus," 2016


At the close of a long hot summer, the appearance of the pumpkin heralds the welcome arrival of autumn. ~Kari Spencer, themicrofarmproject.com


The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps — does anyone know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour 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, Gitanjali, 1914


A'though it cums 'long ev'ry year,
      It allus makes me feel that queer
      An' sort o' juicy round the eyes—
      The time, I mean, when dead leaves flies.
An' when the birds hez lost ther tune,
      An' when the dark draps down too soon,
      An' through the boughs an' all erlong
      The road, the wind its dismal song
Jes' kind o' howls an' kicks up tricks
      With all the crisped-up leaves an' sticks,
      An' flings the dust right in yer eyes;
      An' when the dull clouds heavy lies
Acrost the sky an' makes you think
      The ole year's jes' begun ter sink—
      Wall, that's erbout the time o' year
      I allus feel so kind o' queer!
The summer days hez up an' fled,
      An' most the trees is painted red;
      The jay-bird's stopped his little flute
      An' skipped off in his bed-tick suit;
The lily's head hez drapped down low
      As o'er it now the chill streams flow,
      An' through the air a suddint quack
      Cums tellin' us the wil'-duck's back.
The hick'ry nuts drap off the trees
      An' makes a feller think he sees
      The woods a-sheddin' of ther tears
      A-thinkin' of the passin' years;
'Cos when the wind blows s'rill an' cold
      A feller feels he's growin' old;
      He's sort o' juicy round the eyes—
      The time, I mean, when dead leaves flies!
~Kimball Chase Tapley, "Gettin' Along," 1800s


If spring betrays the summer, would autumn never arrive? ~Terri Guillemets


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun...
~John Keats (1795–1821), "To Autumn"


Light understands the colors of Autumn, and she loves him for it. ~Terri Guillemets, "The falling is mutual," 2016


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, betsygarmon.com


Leaves, questioned by winter, fall. ~Terri Guillemets


It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring... ~P.D. James, A Taste for Death, 1986


In the desert, the slow quiet entrance of autumn is like breathing a sigh of relief — exhaling all the hot, stifling air built up over summer. ~Terri Guillemets


[O]n hill and valley and stream, is lain the spell of silence; and the deep stillness of the air is unbroken... ~Elizabeth J. Eames, "An Autumn Reverie," October 1840


Winter dies into the spring, to be born again in the autumn. ~Terri Guillemets


Spring blossoms are fairy tales, autumn leaves are tragic dramas. ~Mehmet Murat ildan


Fall, temperatures, fall, fall! Let the weather mellow and the year drift into peacefulness. ~Terri Guillemets


Opal-tinted, and golden, and brown,
Summer's dead treasures came sailing down;
Rolling masses of clouds overhead
Passed to the rim of the evening red...
~J. J. Britton (1832–1913), "Love for All Time"


We want it to stay, but autumn always leaves. Beautifully. ~Terri Guillemets



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Original post date 1998 March 18th
Last saved 2021 Jul 23 Fri 10:58 PDT


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