Sonnet 92: Behold that tree, in Autumn’s dim decay

By Anna Seward 1742–1809 Anna Seward
Behold that tree, in Autumn’s dim decay,
   Stripped by the frequent, chill, and eddying wind;
   Where yet some yellow, lonely leaves we find
   Lingering and trembling on the naked spray,
Twenty, perchance, for millions whirled away!
   Emblem, also! too just, of humankind!
   Vain man expects longevity, designed
   For few indeed; and their protracted day
What is it worth that Wisdom does not scorn?
   The blasts of sickness, care, and grief appal,
   That laid the friends in dust, whose natal morn
Rose near their own; and solemn is the call;
   Yet, like those weak deserted leaves forlorn,
   Shivering they cling to life, and fear to fall!

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Poet Anna Seward 1742–1809

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Fall

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Metaphor

 Anna  Seward

Biography

Born in Derbyshire, British Romantic poet and novelist Anna Seward was the daughter of a clergyman and the only one of four children to reach adulthood. Her close friend, Honora Sneyd, was adopted into the family and served as the muse for many of Seward’s poems. In 1750 her father was chosen as Canon of Lichfield Cathedral, and a few years later the family relocated to the Bishop’s Palace, where Seward lived for the rest of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Fall

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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