At the beginning of October, I posted the following thought by Edward Thomas on the beauty of autumn: "The sight of such perfection as is many times achieved before the end awakens the never more than lightly sleeping human desire of permanence." (Edward Thomas, The South Country (1909), page 272.) Now, at the end of autumn, it is appropriate to hear from Robert Frost (who, after Thomas's death in France, wrote that Thomas was "the only brother I ever had"). It turns out, not surprisingly, that they shared similar thoughts about the season.
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
Robert Frost, A Boy's Will (1913).
(A side-note: Frost gives us one of his trademark confounding endings, doesn't he? To wit: where did "the end/Of a love or a season" come from? I thought that this was a pleasant meditation on the end of autumn. How and when did "love" enter the picture?)