• Rachel Sherlock

Falling for the Season: Ten Great Literary Quotes about Autumn

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

'Lake in Autumn' by Charles Harry Eaton

As the summer is put swiftly behind us, it’s time once again to embrace the fascinating paradox of autumn, the earth at its most vibrant as it declines. The feelings that surround the season are similarly, wonderfully, conflicted. It is at once an opportunity for cosy retreat and exuberance at the splendour of nature, while at the same time being a period of misty chills and solemn reflection. There’s something truly evocative about this joyous yet sombre season that draws writers to it. Jane Austen wrote in her novel Persuasion that autumn is “that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” Happily for us, the lingering rain clouds and the long nights provide the perfect opportunity to spend our time delving into the works of these writers, and so, to get us started I’ve selected ten quotes from literary greats who have turned their pen to the season at hand. If there are any particular favourites that I have missed, please do write them in comments below.

Falling Leaves by Olga Wisinger-Florian

Since golden October declined into sombre November, And the apples were gathered and stored, and the land became brown sharp points of death in a waste of water and mud.

T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

Fall Landscape by Julian Onderdonk

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Autumn Trees along a Stream by Hugh Bolton Jones

The leaves were more gorgeous than ever; the first touch of frost would lay them all low to the ground. Already one or two kept constantly floating down, amber and golden in the low slanting sun-rays.

Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

River through an Autumn Forest by William Mason Brown

That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay.

Ray Bradbury, The October Country

Untitled Landscape by Paul Sawyier

On an apple-ripe September morning / Through the mist-chill fields I went

Patrick Kavanagh, Tarry Flynn

Schroon Mountain, Adirondacks by Thomas Cole

He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Autumn at St. Jean de Paris, Forest of Fontainebleau by Théodore Rousseau

In the autumn the leaves flamed and rattled before the west winds, tempering their sad adieu with glory.

T. H. White, The Once and Future King

Autumn Landscape with Four Trees by Vincent Van Gogh

My sorrow, when she's here with me, / Thinks these dark days of autumn rain / Are beautiful as days can be; / She loves the bare, the withered tree; / She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Robert Frost, Frost

Autumn in Glencairn, Moniaive by James Paterson

The river this November afternoon / Rests in an equipoise of sun and cloud: / A glooming light, a gleaming darkness shroud / Its passage. All seems tranquil, all in tune.

Cecil Day-Lewis, The Complete Poems of C. Day Lewis

Autumn in Skagen Plantation by Edvard Westman

Let misty autumn be our part! / The twilight of the year is sweet: / Where shadow and the darkness meet / Our love, a twilight of the heart / Eludes a little time's deceit.

Ernest Dowson, The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson

This article was originally written for Bookwitty.com and published on September 15, 2017.

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