A Poem to Celebrate Fall: “Autumn Leaves” by Juliana Horatia Ewing

Oct 21, 2021 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

The harvest is happening across the midlands of the country. Pumpkins are showing up in yards, and leaves are preparing for their glorious season of color. It’s fall! To celebrate, we are sharing a poem written by Juliana Horatia Ewing called “Autumn Leaves.” As you read through it, see if you can identify some of the stylistic techniques that she implements.

Autumn Leaves

by Juliana Horatia Ewing


The Spring’s bright tints no more are seen,

And Summer’s ample robe of green

Is russet-gold and brown;

When flowers fall to every breeze

And, shed reluctant from the trees,

The leaves drop down.


A sadness steals about the heart,

--And is it thus from youth we part,

And life’s redundant prime?

Must friends like flowers fade away,

And life like Nature know decay,

And bow to time?


And yet such sadness meets rebuke,

From every copse in every nook

Where Autumn’s colours glow;

How bright the sky! How full the sheaves!

What mellow glories gild the leaves

Before they go.


Then let us sing the jocund praise,

In this bright air, of these bright days,

When years our friendships crown;

The love that’s loveliest when ‘tis old--

When tender tints have turned to gold

And leaves drop down.


Share this poem with your students. See if they can find examples of the following:

  • Repetition: Do they see any words or phrases repeated?

  • Personification: Do they see any human-like characteristics ascribed to non-human things?

  • Alliteration: Do they hear the same initial consonant sound repeated in short succession? For example, Cindy sings every Sunday in the choir.

  • Imagery: Are there any especially compelling word pictures created in the reader’s mind?

  • Simile: Can they locate a simile, which uses like or as to compare two different things?

  • Word Choice: Does the poet use any quality adjectives, strong verbs, or compelling adverbs? Are there any words they don’t know? Some words that might be unfamiliar include russet, redundant, rebuke, copse, sheaves, and jocund.*

Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841–1885) was a children’s book author and was homeschooled. Interestingly, her story “The Brownies” provided the inspiration for the Girl Scouts level that bears the same name (“Juliana”).


Work Cited

“Juliana Horatia Ewing.” Poetry Foundation,




russet, adj.: a reddish brown color

redundant, adj.: superfluous, not necessary

rebuke, v.: to chastise or disapprove of sharply

copse, n.: a stand or grouping of trees

sheaves, n.: groups of grain on the stalk tied together after harvesting

jocund, adj.: merry


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