The Lesson Of The Seasons

David John Scott

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Fleeting time is on the wing--
Surely Winter, joyous Spring,
Glowing Summer, Autumn sere,
Mark the changes of the year.

Late the earth was green and fair,
Flowers were blooming everywhere;
Birds were singing in the trees,
While the balmy healthful breeze,
Laden with perfume and song,
Health and beauty flowed along.

But a change comes o'er the scene;
Still the fields and trees are green,
And the birds keep singing on,
Though the early flowers are gone;
And the melting noon-day heat,
Strips the shoes from little feet,
And the coats from little backs;
While the paddling bare-foot tracks,
In the brooklet which I see,
Tell of youthful sports and glee.
Hay is rip'ning on the plain,
Fields are rich in golden grain,
Mowers rattle sharp and shrill,
Reapers echo from the hill,
Farmer, dark and brown with heat,
Push your labor--it is sweet,
For the hope, in which you plow,
And sow, you are reaping now.
Corn, which late, was scarcely seen,
Struggling slowly into green,
'Neath the Summer's torrid glow--
How like magic it does grow;
Rising to majestic height,
Drinks the sunbeams with delight,
Sends its rootlets through the soil,
Foraging for hidden spoil;
Riches more than golden ore,
Silent workers they explore:
With their apparatus small,
Noiselessly they gather all.
When their work is done, behold
Treasures, richer far than gold,
Fill the farmers store-house wide--
And his grateful soul beside.

But the scene must change again,
Hill and dell and spreading plain,
Speak so all can comprehend
Summer's reign is at an end.
Forests, gorgeously arrayed,
(Queens such dresses ne'er displayed)
Grace the coronation scene
Of the lovely Autumn queen.
Birds, with multifarious notes,
Ringing from ten thousand throats,
Shout aloud that Summer's dead,
And Autumn reigns in her stead.
Now another change behold--
All the varied tints of gold,
Purple, crimson, orange, green--
Every hue and shade between,
That bedecked the forest trees,
Now lie scattered by the breeze.
The birds have flown. Faithless friends
Love the most when they're best fed;
And when they have gained their ends,
Shamefully have turned and fled.
Winter claims his wide domain,
And begins his frigid reign.
Thus the seasons come and go:
Spring gives place to Summer's glow;
Then comes mellow Autumn's sway,
Rip'ning fruits and short'ning day;
Gorgeous woods in crimson dress,
Surpassing queens in loveliness.
Then the Frost King mounts the throne,
Claims the empire for his own;
Hail and rain and sleet and snow
Are his ministers that go
On the swift wings of the blast,
At his bidding, fierce and fast.

Like the seasons of the year,
Your young life will change, my dear.
Now you're in your early Spring,
Hope and joy are on the wing;
Flow'rets blooming fresh and gay,
Shed their fragrance round your way.
Summer's heat is coming fast,
And your Spring will soon be past;
For, where you are, I have been;
All that you see, I have seen.
Hopes that beamed around my way,
Cast their light on yours to-day.
All that you do, I have done;
All your childish ways I've run,
All your joys and pangs I've had--
All that make you gay or sad;
I have sported in the brook,
Truant from my work or book;
Chased the butterfly and bee,
Robb'd the bird's nest on the tree;
Damm'd the brook and built my mill;
Flew my kite from hill to hill;
Sported with my top and ball--
Childish joys, I know them all.
Childish sorrows, too I've felt--
Anguish that my heart would melt;
Tears have wet my burning cheek,
Caused by thoughts I could not speak.
Mysteries then confused my brain,
Which have since become more plain;
Much that then seemed plain and clear
Has grown darker year by year;
When my artless prayers I said,
Skies were near--just over head;
And the angels seemed so near,
I could whisper in their ear.
All that I have learned since then,
I would give, if once again,
Those bright visions would return.
For I find, the more I learn,
Further off the skies appear,
And the angels come not near.
Though in better words I pray,
Heaven seems so far away,
That I wish, but wish in vain,
That the skies were near again;
That no other words I knew,
But those simple ones and few,
That the angels used to hear,
When I whispered in their ear.
I would barter all the fame,
Wealth and learning that I claim,
Which a life of toil have cost,
For those priceless seasons lost.

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