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As a harvester, at dusk,
  Faring down some woody trail
  Leading homeward through the musk
  Of may-apple and pawpaw,
  Hazel-bush, and spice and haw,--
  So comes Autumn, swart and hale,
  Drooped of frame and slow of stride.
  But withal an air of pride
  Looming up in stature far
  Higher than his shoulders are;
  Weary both in arm and limb,
  Yet the wholesome heart of him
  Sheer at rest and satisfied.

  Greet him as with glee of drums
  And glad cymbals, as he comes!
  Robe him fair, O Rain and Shine.
  He the Emperor--the King--
  Royal lord of everything
  Sagging Plenty's granary floors
  And out-bulging all her doors;
  He the god of corn and wine,
  Honey, milk, and fruit and oil--
  Lord of feast, as lord of toil--
  Jocund host of yours and mine!

  Ho! the revel of his laugh!--
  Half is sound of winds, and half
  Roar of ruddy blazes drawn
  Up the throats of chimneys wide,
  Circling which, from side to side,
  Faces--lit as by the Dawn,
  With her highest tintings on
  Tip of nose, and cheek, and chin--
  Smile at some old fairy-tale
  Of enchanted lovers, in
  Silken gown and coat of mail,
  With a retinue of elves
  Merry as their very selves,
  Trooping ever, hand in hand,
  Down the dales of Wonderland.

  Then the glory of his song!--
  Lifting up his dreamy eyes--
  Singing haze across the skies;
  Singing clouds that trail along
  Towering tops of trees that seize
  Tufts of them to stanch the breeze;
  Singing slanted strands of rain
  In between the sky and earth,
  For the lyre to mate the mirth
  And the might of his refrain:
  Singing southward-flying birds
  Down to us, and afterwards
  Singing them to flight again;
  Singing blushes to the cheeks
  Of the leaves upon the trees--
  Singing on and changing these
  Into pallor, slowly wrought,
  Till the little, moaning creeks
  Bear them to their last farewell,
  As Elaine, the lovable,
  Was borne down to Lancelot.--
  Singing drip of tears, and then
  Drying them with smiles again.

  Singing apple, peach and grape,
  Into roundest, plumpest shape,
  Rosy ripeness to the face
  Of the pippin; and the grace
  Of the dainty stamin-tip
  To the huge bulk of the pear,
  Pendant in the green caress
  Of the leaves, and glowing through
  With the tawny laziness
  Of the gold that Ophir knew,--
  Haply, too, within its rind
  Such a cleft as bees may find,
  Bungling on it half aware.
  And wherein to see them sip
  Fancy lifts an oozy lip,
  And the singer's falter there.

  Sweet as swallows swimming through
  Eddyings of dusk and dew,
  Singing happy scenes of home
  Back to sight of eager eyes
  That have longed for them to come,
  Till their coming is surprise
  Uttered only by the rush
  Of quick tears and prayerful hush;
  Singing on, in clearer key,
  Hearty palms of you and me
  Into grasps that tingle still
  Rapturous, and ever will!
  Singing twank and twang of strings--
  Trill of flute and clarinet
  In a melody that rings
  Like the tunes we used to play,
  And our dreams are playing yet!
  Singing lovers, long astray,
  Each to each, and, sweeter things--
  Singing in their marriage-day,
  And a banquet holding all
  These delights for festival.

© James Whitcomb Riley