The Third of November, 1861

Author: William Cullen Bryant  | Date: 1861


Softly breathes the west-wind beside the ruddy forest,

Taking leaf by leaf from the branches where he flies.

Sweetly streams the sunshine, this third day of November,

Through the golden haze of the quiet autumn skies.

Tenderly the season has spared the grassy meadows,

Spared the petted flowers that the old world gave the new,

Spared the autumn-rose and the garden’s group of pansies,

Late-blown dandelions and periwinkles blue.

On my cornice linger the ripe black grapes ungathered;

Children fill the groves with the echoes of their glee,

Gathering tawny chestnuts, and shouting when beside them

Drops the heavy fruit of the tall black-walnut tree.

Glorious are the woods in their latest gold and crimson,

Yet our full-leaved willows are in their freshest green.

Such a kindly autumn, so mercifully dealing

With the growths of summer, I never yet have seen.

Like this kindly season may life’s decline come o’er me;

Past is manhood’s summer, the frosty months are here;

Yet be genial airs and a pleasant sunshine left me,

Leaf, and fruit, and blossom, to mark the closing year!

Dreary is the time when the flowers of earth are withered;

Dreary is the time when the woodland leaves are cast-

When, upon the hillside, all hardened into iron,

Howling, like a wolf, flies the famished northern blast.

Dreary are the years when the eye can look no longer

With delight on Nature, or hope on human kind;

Oh, may those that whiten my temples, as they pass me,

Leave the heart unfrozen, and spare the cheerful mind!

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Chicago: William Cullen Bryant, The Third of November, 1861 Original Sources, accessed May 19, 2024,

MLA: Bryant, William Cullen. The Third of November, 1861, Original Sources. 19 May. 2024.

Harvard: Bryant, WC, The Third of November, 1861. Original Sources, retrieved 19 May 2024, from