Autumn Woods

Author: William Cullen Bryant  | Date: 1824


Ere, in the northern gale,

The summer tresses of the trees are gone,

The woods of Autumn, all around our vale,

Have put their glory on.

The mountains that infold,

In their wide sweep, the colored landscape round,

Seem groups of giant kings, in purple and gold,

That guard the enchanted ground.

I roam the woods that crown

The uplands, where the mingled splendors glow,

Where the gay company of trees look down

On the green fields below.

My steps are not alone

In these bright walks; the sweet southwest, at play,

Flies, rustling, where the painted leaves are strown

Along the winding way.

And far in heaven, the while,

The sun, that sends that gale to wander here,

Pours out on the fair earth his quiet smile-

The sweetest of the year.

Where now the solemn shade,

Verdure and gloom where many branches meet;

So grateful, when the noon of summer made

The valleys sick with heat?

Let in through all the trees

Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright;

Their sunny colored foliage, in the breeze,

Twinkles, like beams of light.

The rivulet, late unseen,

Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,

Shines with the image of its golden screen,

And glimmerings of the sun.

But ’neath yon crimson tree,

Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,

Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,

Her blush of maiden shame.

Oh, Autumn! why so soon

Depart the hues that make thy forests glad,

Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,

And leave thee wild and sad!

Ah! ’twere a lot too blest

Forever in thy colored shades to stray;

Amid the kisses of the soft southwest

To roam and dream for aye;

And leave the vain low strife

That makes men mad- the tug for wealth and power-

The passions and the cares that wither life,

And waste its little hour.

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Chicago: William Cullen Bryant, Autumn Woods Original Sources, accessed April 22, 2024,

MLA: Bryant, William Cullen. Autumn Woods, Original Sources. 22 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: Bryant, WC, Autumn Woods. Original Sources, retrieved 22 April 2024, from