Song of Autumn

Clark Ashton Smith

(Translated "from the French of Charles Pierre Baudelaire")


Soon shall the night enfold us like a frozen pall. . . .
The summer sinks from us, too radiant and short:
Even now, with harsh, funereal shock, I hear the fall
Of fagots that resound upon the paven court.

All the long winter comes to invade my being: choler,
Tremblings of hate and horror, toil too forced and rude;
And, like the sun in his pale hell of shadows polar,
My heart will be no more than crimson ice and blood.

I hear with frightful tremors every block that falls;
A builded scaffold echoes not more leadenly.
My soul is like a lonely tower whose ruinous walls
Go down to a battering-ram wielded unweariably.

It seems to me, half-lulled as by monotonous blows,
That, nailed somewhere in sullen haste, a coffin rings.
For whom?— 'Twas yesterday the summer; summer goes.
This sound is like the rumor of all departing things.


I love the light of your great eyes of green and amber!
But all the day is only bitterness to me,
And from your love I turn, and from the fire-lit chamber,
To watch the sun that shines far off upon the sea.

Yet love me still, and be as a mother, mild and tender,
For one who does you wrong, for this ungrateful one,
Sweetheart or sister, be the soft, emphemeral splendor
Of the full-risen autumn or the setting sun.

Brief task! the tomb awaits, yawning and ravenous.
My brow upon your knees, in half-regretful dreams
I would relume the hot white summer flown from us,
And taste this aftermath of sweet and yellow beams.

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