Darkly falls the autumn twilight, rustles by the crisp leaf sere,
Sadly wail the lonely night-winds, sweeping sea-ward, chill and drear,
Sullen dash the restless waters 'gainst a bleak and rock-bound shore,
While the sea-birds' weird voices mingle with their surging roar.
Vainly seeks the eye a flow'ret 'mid the desolation drear,
Or a spray of pleasant verdure which the gloomy scene might cheer;
Nought but frowning crags and boulders, and long sea-weeds, ghastly, dank,
With the mosses and pale lichens, to the wet rocks clinging rank.
See, the fog clouds thickly rolling o'er the landscape far and wide,
Till the tall cliffs look like phantoms, seeking 'mid their shrouds to hide;
On they come, the misty masses of the wreathing vapour white,
Filling hill and mead and valley, blotting earth and heaven from sight.
Silent, mournful, am I standing, gazing from the window pane,
Dimmed and blurred with heavy plashes of the fast descending rain,
While thoughts chiming with the hour my weary brain are passing through,
Till the shadows of the evening on my brow are mirrored too.
Rise, although uncalled, within me, memories of the distant past,
Of the dreams, the hopes, the fancies, that round life sweet sunshine cast;
Whilst the moan of winds and waters, with a strange, mysterious art,
Seem to awaken drear forebodings in the listening gazer's heart.
Ah! it needs yon pleasant tapers with enlivening, home-like ray,
And the sound of voices sharing, each in turn, in converse gay,
And the flash of fire-light, making happy faces still more glad,
To dispel the mournful thoughts that make the evening hour so sad.
Turning from this lonely musing, wilful nursing of dark care,
I will join the joyous circle of the dear ones gathered there,
Who with smiles will greet my advent, and in that delightful room
Shake aside the dreary shadows of this scene of autumn gloom.