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Falling for the Season: Ten Great Literary Quotes about Autumn

Mary Holmes By Mary Holmes Published on September 15, 2017

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. 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Untitled Landscape by Paul Sawyier
On an apple-ripe September morning
Through the mist-chill fields I went

Patrick Kavanagh, Tarry Flynn

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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

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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

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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

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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

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 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

Featured image, Lake in Autumn by Charles Harry Eaton.


I love to read, cook, and travel. My favourite books are anything Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, but I also love non-fiction history and self-help.


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