Slike strani

Each season has lavished its wealth on me, and

moods and stirred I am conscious, as coals to which the

each has awakened its kindred its kindred thoughts within me. I look into the bed of glowing fire has sunk, that I am even now undergoing the subtle process of change from season to season. The habits, the moods, the impressions, which summer created in me have gone, and new aptitudes, thoughts, and emotions have taken their place. The world through which I have wandered with vagrant feet these past months, intent only to keep a heart open to every voice from field and wood and sky, has sunk below the horizon, and another and different world has risen into view. Pan pipes no more, while Orion blazes overhead and leads the glittering constellations. Thought, that has played truant through the long days, forgetting books and men in its chase after beauty and its stealthy ambuscade of the hermit-thrush in the forest, returns once more to brood over the problems of its own being, and to search for the truth that lies at the bottom of the wells that men have dug along the route of history for the refreshment of the race.

The glow of the dying fire no longer reaches the windows; the world beyond is left undisturbed to night and darkness; but it still sends flickering gleams along the rows of books, and lights up their dusky titles. These are the true companions of the short wintry days and the long wintry nights. find the life that is in them, to read with clear eyes


whatever of truth they contain, to see face to face the deep human experiences out of which they grew these are the tasks to which the season leads us. In summer the senses wander abroad, and thought keeps company with them, hand in hand. with nature, eager to see, to hear, and to feel; in winter the wanderers return to the fire, to recall and meditate upon the scenes in which they have mingled, and of which they themselves have been a part.

Rosalind gives the fire another stirring, and the last latent flame flashes up and falls upon that ancient handbook of life and toil, Hesiod's "Works and Days." How happily the old Greek ensnared the year, with all its hours and tasks, in that wellworn title! We, too, shall share with him the toils and pleasures of the seasons. We have had our

Days; our Works await us.



Is it not due to November that some discreet person should revise what the poets have said about it? For one, I have felt no slight sense of shame as I opened to the melancholy lines full of the wail of winds and the sob of rain, while a brilliant autumnal light has flooded the world. The days have passed in a stately procession, under skies so cloudless and serene and with such amplitude of golden light that I have sometimes thought I saw a little disdain of the accessories of the earlier season. It has seemed as if November, radiant and sunlit, needed no soft, fleecy clouds, no budding flowers, no rich and rustling foliage, to complete her charm. Even the splendid tradition of October has not overawed its maligned successor, and of the oft-repeated slanders of the poets no notice has been taken save perhaps to cast a more brilliant light upon their graves. It is certainly high time that the traditional November should give place to the actual Novembermonth of prolonged and golden light, with just enough of cloud and shadow to heighten by contrast the brilliancy of the sunshine. The borderland between winter and summer is certainly the

most beautiful and alluring part of the year.


late spring and the late autumn months hold in equipoise the charms of both seasons. Their characteristics are less pronounced and more subtle; and they are for that reason richer in suggestiveness and more alluring to the imagination.

I have watched the flight of the autumnal days from my study windows as one watches the distant passage of the birds southward. They have carried the last memories of summer with them, but with what grace and majesty they have retreated before an invisible foe! With slow and noiseless step, pausing for days together in soft, unbroken dreams, they have passed beyond the horizon line and left me under a spell so deep that I have hardly yet shaken it off and turned to other sights and thoughts. One of the great concerns of life is this silent, unbroken procession of the seasons, rising from the deeps of time like dreams sent to touch our mortal life with more than mortal beauty. Stars, tides, flowers, foliage, birds, clouds, snows, and storms— how marvelous is the frame in which they appear and disappear about us; as real as ourselves, and yet as fleeting and elusive as our dreams!

Rosalind and I have often talked about these things as they appear to children, and we are agreed that nature is a good deal nearer and more intelligible to childhood than most people think. Children of sensitive and imaginative temper have marvelous capacity for receiving impressions: they absorb as

unconsciously to themselves as to others. When they seem most indifferent or preoccupied they are often most impressionable. Unperceived by those who are nearest them, unrecognized at the moment by themselves, there often press upon the mind of a child the deepest and most awful mysteries of life; mysteries that lie far beyond the plummet of thought. It is only as one thinks back and recalls out of memory those marvelous moments when every visible thing seemed suddenly smitten with unreality in the presence of some great spiritual truth, felt but uncomprehended, that one realizes the depth and richness of the unspoken thoughts of children. In a passage of great beauty De Quincey has described the feelings that came when as a boy he stood beside the form of his dead sister. "There lay the sweet childish figure; there the angel face: and, as people usually fancy, it was said in the house that not one feature had suffered any change. Had they not? The forehead, indeed-the serene and noble forehead—that might be the same; but the frozen eyelids, the darkness that seemed to steal from beneath them, the marble lips, the stiffening hands, laid palm to palm, as if repeating the supplications of closing anguish-could these be mistaken for life? Had it been so, wherefore did I not spring to those heavenly lips with tears and never ending kisses? But so it was not. I stood checked for a moment; awe, not fear, fell upon me; and whilst I stood, a solemn wind began to blow-the

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