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The Months: A Pageant
by [?]

[July retires into a shrubbery.]


Wheat sways heavy, oats are airy,
Barley bows a graceful head,
Short and small shoots up canary,
Each of these is some one’s bread;
Bread for man or bread for beast,
Or at very least
A bird’s savory feast.

Men are brethren of each other,
One in flesh and one in food;
And a sort of foster brother
Is the litter, or the brood,
Of that folk in fur or feather,
Who, with men together,
Breast the wind and weather.

[August descries September toiling across the lawn.]


My harvest home is ended; and I spy
September drawing nigh
With the first thought of Autumn in her eye,
And the first sigh
Of Autumn wind among her locks that fly.

[September arrives, carrying upon her head a basket heaped high with fruit]


Unload me, brother. I have brought a few
Plums and these pears for you,
A dozen kinds of apples, one or two
Melons, some figs all bursting through
Their skins, and pearled with dew
These damsons violet-blue.

[While September is speaking, August lifts the basket to the ground, selects various fruits, and withdraws slowly along the gravel walk, eating a pear as he goes.]


My song is half a sigh
Because my green leaves die;
Sweet are my fruits, but all my leaves are dying;
And well may Autumn sigh,
And well may I
Who watch the sere leaves flying.

My leaves that fade and fall,
I note you one and all;
I call you, and the Autumn wind is calling,
Lamenting for your fall,
And for the pall
You spread on earth in falling.

And here’s a song of flowers to suit such hours:
A song of the last lilies, the last flowers,
Amid my withering bowers.

In the sunny garden bed
Lilies look so pale,
Lilies droop the head
In the shady grassy vale;
If all alike they pine
In shade and in shine,
If everywhere they grieve,
Where will lilies live?

[October enters briskly, some leafy twigs bearing different sorts of nuts in one hand, and a long ripe hop-bine trailing after him from the other. A dahlia is stuck in his buttonhole.]


Nay, cheer up, sister. Life is not quite over,
Even if the year has done with corn and clover,
With flowers and leaves; besides, in fact it’s true,
Some leaves remain and some flowers too.
For me and you.
Now see my crops:

[Offering his produce to September.

I’ve brought you nuts and hops;
And when the leaf drops, why, the walnut drops.

[October wreaths the hop-bine about September’s neck, and gives her the nut twigs. They enter the cottage together, but without shutting the door. She steps into the background: He advances to the hearth, removes the guard, stirs up the smouldering fire, and arranges several chestnuts ready to roast.]


Crack your first nut and light your first fire,
Roast your first chestnut crisp on the bar;
Make the logs sparkle, stir the blaze higher;
Logs are cheery as sun or as star,
Logs we can find wherever we are.

Spring one soft day will open the leaves,
Spring one bright day will lure back the flowers;
Never fancy my whistling wind grieves,
Never fancy I’ve tears in my showers;
Dance, nights and days! and dance on, my hours!

[Sees November approaching.


Here comes my youngest sister, looking dim
And grim,
With dismal ways.
What cheer, November?


[Entering and shutting the door.]

Nought have I to bring,
Tramping a-chill and shivering,
Except these pine-cones for a blaze,–
Except a fog which follows,
And stuffs up all the hollows,–
Except a hoar frost here and there,–
Except some shooting stars
Which dart their luminous cars
Trackless and noiseless through the keen night air.