Monday, 19 November 2018

Poetry Revisited: Autumn in England by Emily Mary Barton

Autumn in England

(from Straws on the Stream: 1907)

1st November, 1837

Another bright summer for ever has fled.
And the song of the warblers is silent and dead;
The heavens are weeping, the breezes are sighing
O’er the cold earth where Beauty’s frail children are lying;
The leaves that fall round them are wither’d and sear,
And the white shroud of mourning shall cover their bier—
The breezes may sigh, for they’re passing away,
The heavens may weep, for they, too, must decay;
But why should I mourn for the joys that are gone,
While I feel that new blessings are hastening on?
Though the tokens of Beauty, lie dead on the ground,
The Spirit of loveliness hovers around;
Though the music of Nature no longer we hear,
New harmonies ever shall sound in my ear.
My sails are full set, and my barque is at sea,
Each wave that I pass has a glory for me;
To the breezes of Heaven my pennant I raise.
Faith is my pilot, my watchword is Praise;
Onward I drive through the glitt’ring spray
Of Eternity’s Ocean, away and away!
Nought can arrest my unfolding career,
On my heart is no cloud, in my bosom no fear;
By all Power created, all Goodness expressed,
By all Mercy redeemed, I am Heaven’s own guest,
And a spark from Divinity glows in my breast.
Go then, bright summer, depart lovely flowers,
Proceed sun of nature, roll on happy hours,
There is Beauty around me that will not decay,
And Life brings in Life as the hours roll away,
The Land of Infinitude opens before me.
The Eye of Omniscience only is o’er me:
Time is my courser, he bears me along,
O’er plains of existence, for ever and ever,
And blent with the whispers of Hope is the song
Of flowers that perish, and friends that must sever,
Forward I bound with unwearying pace,
My portion is Life, my inheritance Space;
The tomb that awaits me throws open its portal,
My Guide is Almighty, my spirit immortal;
The passage is dark, but I slack not my speed,
The gateway is low, yet I bow not my head;
The brow that was made to aspire to the skies,
Smiles calmly on death, and its power defies,
For a season, in sin and disgrace it bent low,
It has risen again, and shall never more bow,
Except to the Mercy that washed off its stain,
And the Might that restored it to Glory again.

Emily Mary Barton (1817-1909)
English-born Australian poet

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