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By Adam Burgess writing for Thoughtco.
As summer turns into autumn in the northern hemisphere, as the leaves start to turn brilliant shades of red and orange, as sweaters come out of storage and steaming hot cocoa is poured into ceramic and children (and the young at heart) begin to think about the thrills of Halloween, we turn to classic authors for their inspired words about this magical season.
Autumn permeates British writing with beautiful passages that depict the seasons turning in the countryside.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring: 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.
John Donne, The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose: No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.
Jane Austen, Persuasion: Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.
Samuel Butler: Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.
George Eliot: Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
In the United States, autumn has an especially tangible cultural importance.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.
William Cullen Bryant: Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.
Ray Bradbury: 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. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.
Henry David Thoreau: I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
Nathaniel Hawthorne: I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.
Writers around the world have long been inspired by the turning of the seasons from summer towards winter.
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables: I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
Albert Camus: Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cezanne: At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.