“Autumnal Elegiac” by Josiah D. Canning

by Ann Neilson

Autumnal Elegiac.
By the “Peasant-Bard”
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 49, January, 1857, pg. 30.

THE vane points south. Damp blows the gale,
From off towards ocean’s misty waste;
Aloft the rainy signals sail,
And on their stormy mission haste
I stand and hear the roaring blast,
And see the wild rack drifting fast;
And watch on Unadilla’s* braes,
Where late the summer sun did smile,
The marching mist, and scudding haze,
Like spectral rank and file!
There go the hopeful hours of Spring,
There Summer’s more exalted pride,
In autumn glooms evanishing
By mournful Unadilla’s side.
And other phantoms, too, I see,
Of perished objects, dear to me;
Once seen, like flowers of smiling spring.
Now all on memory devolves;
While in the blast all hollow sing
The ghosts of good resolves.

O buried time! O vain regrets!
Yon visioned, gloomed, autumnal strife,
Minds me how fast towards autumn sets
My own bright summer bark of life!
Yes, voyager to the unknown shore,
No anchor holds that you throw o’er.
Affection’s bower, e’en Love’s strong sheet,
Cannot the forward tide withstand.
Blest Hope! keep watch; thy cry is sweet:
Land ho! the ‘Better Land!’

Gill, (Mass.,) Oct. 4th.

*The name of the stream flowing through the farm of the writer, sacred to mournful memories.