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Pessimism

Edith Nesbit

While baby Spring sticks daisies in her hair,
Or Summer laughs with flushed triumphant face
We crush our heart rebellious at earth's grace,
And smile "How, like the season, life is fair!"

But when the last leaf falls in the dull air,
And skies grow pale, and fields lie lost a space,
Ere their first furrow ploughs begin to trace,
And pastures shiver desolate and bare

Oh, then one breathes; at last free from the sway
Of selfish spring, from summer's insolent reign,
One dares to speak the truth, how all life's way
Is blank as autumn skies made grey with rain,

Most blank when most the glad year bade forbear
To mar her grace with our unveiled despair.

* * * * *

Not Spring, too lavish of her bud and leaf,
But Autumn, with sad eyes and brow austere,
When fields are bare, and woods are brown and sere,
And leaden skies weep their exhaustless grief.

Spring is so much too bright, since Spring is brief.
And in our hearts is autumn all the year,
Least sad when the wide pastures are most drear,
And fields grieve most robbed of the last gold sheaf.

For when the plough goes down the brown wet field,
A delicate doubtful throb of hope is ours,
What if this coming Spring at last should yield
Joy, with her too profuse unasked-for flowers?

Not all our Springs of commonplace and pain
Have taught us now that autumn hope is vain.


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