Anna Laetitia Barbauld
An Autumnal Thought
'Tis past! we breathe! assuaged at length
The flames that drank our vital strength!
Smote with intolerable heat
No more our throbbing temples beat.
How clear the sky, how pure the air,
The heavens how bright, the earth how fair!
The bosom cool, the spirits light,
Active the day, and calm the night!
But O, the swiftly shortening day!
Low in the west the sinking ray!
With rapid pace advancing still
“The morning hoar, the evening chill,”
The falling leaf, the fading year,
And Winter ambushed in the rear!
Thus, when the fervid Passions cool,
And Judgement, late, begins to rule;
When Reason mounts her throne serene,
And social Friendship gilds the scene;
When man, of ripened powers possest,
Broods o'er the treasures of his breast;
Exults, in conscious worth elate,
Lord of himself—almost of fate;
Then, then declines the' unsteady flame,
Disease, slow mining, saps the frame;
Cold damps of age around are shed,
That chill the heart, and cloud the head.
The failing spirits prompt no more,
The curtain drops, life's day is o'er.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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