An Autumn Thrush

By George Sterling

Like some regret that, half-forgot,
    Gropes into memory,
Here in a shadow-chosen spot
    Thy music steals to me.

To soft for joy, too mild for grief,
    Within the wood it dies—
Beauty too wayward and too brief
    To grace our noonday skies.

The dusk enfolds me, and the year
    Stands at the western gate.
Thy song, the symbol of a tear,
    Echoes the cry "Too late!"

"Too late!" cries back the conscious heart,
    As one that in dismay
Had seen the affronted gods depart
    And could not bid them stay;

Nor could retain from Time's control
    A moment or a flow'r,
Save when in woodlands of the soul
    Such strains endure an hour.

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