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To Autumn by William Blake (1783)

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It’s finally looking like Autumn where I live in Texas. Well, slightly. So let’s celebrate the beginning of autumn with this early poem of William Blake’s from his first book, Poetical Sketches.

“To Autumn” is full of gorgeous colors and a magnificent personification at the end, all portraying sexually charged nature with fertility, the daughters of the year dancing and singing lusty songs, the narrow bud opening her beauties, and personified Autumn, after ravishing modest Eve, rising and dressing, then fleeing over the bleak hills. But he leaves behind his golden load.

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st 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.

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,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

(A Literary Life classic. First posted October 7, 2015.)

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