John Greenleaf Whittier
Gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers,
And gone the Summer's pomp and show,
And Autumn, in his leafless bowers,
Is waiting for the Winter's snow.
I said to Earth, so cold and gray,
'An emblem of myself thou art.'
'Not so,' the Earth did seem to say,
'For Spring shall warm my frozen heart.'
I soothe my wintry sleep with dreams
Of warmer sun and softer rain,
And wait to hear the sound of streams
And songs of merry birds again.
But thou, from whom the Spring hath gone,
For whom the flowers no longer blow,
Who standest blighted and forlorn,
Like Autumn waiting for the snow;
No hope is thine of sunnier hours,
Thy Winter shall no more depart;
No Spring revive thy wasted flowers,
Nor Summer warm thy frozen heart.
American poet and editor, John Greenleaf Whittier, was born December 17, 1807, in Massachusetts. A shoemaker and schoolteacher by trade, Whittier garnered literary attention before he was twenty and throughout his long life. A devout Quaker, he was politicallly active, devoted himself to to social causes and reform, and doggedly worked for the abolition of slavery.
Popular with other poets and writers, Whittier celebrated his seventieth birthday with a large group of friends that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and William Dean Howells. He died in New Hampshire, on September 7, 1892.