A soft veil dims the tender skies,
And half conceals from pensive eyes
The bronzing tokens of the fall;
A calmness broods upon the hills,
And summer’s parting dream distills
A charm of silence over all.
The stacks of corn, in brown array,
Stand waiting through the placid day,
Like tattered wigwams on the plain;
The tribes that find a shelter there
Are phantom peoples, forms of air,
And ghosts of vanished joy and pain.
At evening when the crimson crest
Of sunset passes down the West,
I hear the whispering host returning;
On far-off fields, by elm and oak,
I see the lights, I smell the smoke,–
The Camp-fires of the Past are burning.
– Henry Van Dyke
‘It is a foolish thing,’ said I,
‘To bear with such, and pass it by;
Yet so I do, I know not why!’
And at each clash I would surmise
That if I had acted otherwise
I might have saved me many sighs.
But now the only happiness
In looking back that I possess —
Whose lack would leave me comfortless —
Is to remember I refrained
From masteries I might have gained,
And for my tolerance was disdained;
– Thomas Hardy