I have long felt that autumn properly begins -- as an emotional, sensual, and aesthetic matter -- in late August. Yes, I am aware of the autumnal equinox and of the tilting paths of heavenly bodies, et cetera. That is all well and good.
But there is something about late August that bespeaks autumn: the yellow and angled light; a sky that seems a deeper blue at the edge of a solitary cloud; a rivulet of coolness thridding its way through the otherwise warm afternoon breeze . . .
"Summer Is Ended"
To think that this meaningless thing was ever a rose,
Scentless, colourless, this!
Will it ever be thus (who knows?)
Thus with our bliss,
If we wait till the close?
Tho' we care not to wait for the end, there comes the end
Sooner, later, at last,
Which nothing can mar, nothing mend:
An end locked fast,
Bent we cannot re-bend.
Christina Rossetti, A Pageant and Other Poems (1881).
Rossetti placed the title of the poem in quotation marks because it has its source in the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 8, Verse 20 (King James Version): "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Christina Rossetti, The Complete Poems (notes by Betty Flowers) (Penguin 2001), page 960.