An Autumn Treasure-Trove
'Tis the time of the year's sundown, and flame
Hangs on the maple bough;
And June is the faded flower of a name;
The thin hedge hides not a singer now.
Yet rich am I; for my treasures be
The gold afloat in my willow-tree.
Sweet morn on the hillside dripping with dew,
Girded with blue and pearl,
Counts the leaves afloat in the streamlet too;
As the love-lorn heart of a wistful girl,
She sings while her soul brooding tearfully
Sees a dream of gold in the willow-tree.
All day pure white and saffron at eve,
Clouds awaiting the sun
Turn them at length to ghosts that leave
When the moon's white path is slowly run
Till the morning comes, and with joy for me
O'er my gold agleam in the willow-tree.
The lilacs that blew on the breast of May
Are an old and lost delight;
And the rose lies ruined in his careless way
As the wind turns the poplars underwhite,
Yet richer am I for the autumn; see
All my misty gold in the willow-tree.
The angel host that sped last night,
Bearing the wondrous news afar,
Came in their ever-glorious flight
Unto a slumbering little star.
'Awake and sing, O star!' they cried.
'Awake and glorify the morn!
Herald the tidings far and wide--
He that shall lead His flock is born!'
The little star awoke and sung
As only stars in rapture may,
And presently where church bells hung
The joyous tidings found their way.
'Awake, O bells! 't is Christmas morn--
Awake and let thy music tell
To all mankind that now is born
What Shepherd loves His lambkins well!'
Then rang the bells as fled the night
O'er dreaming land and drowsing deep,
And coming with the morning light,
They called, my child, to you asleep.
Sweetly and tenderly they spoke,
And lingering round your little bed,
Their music pleaded till you woke,
And this is what their music said:
'Awake and sing! 'tis Christmas morn,
Whereon all earth salutes her King!
In Bethlehem is the Shepherd born.
Awake, O little lamb, and sing!'
So, dear my child, kneel at my feet,
And with those voices from above
Share thou this holy time with me,
The universal hymn of love.