He died in a golden springtime.


Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

-G.K. Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton died on June 14, 1936. This poem about the autumn of his life perhaps spanned several seasons in his consciousness before he died in springtime. I haven’t found out when it was written.

Pippin and I visited Chesterton’s humble grave when we were in England in 2005.

12 thoughts on “He died in a golden springtime.

  1. What a lovely poem. Like, you, I couldn’t find anything about when it was written, but I did find that it was included in a collection called The Wild Knight and Other Poems, which was published in 1900.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you, Linda! I couldn’t find that much, which at least tells us that it was definitely the autumn of his life, and not winter, when he wrote it. I’m glad he had plenty of years of appreciating that season of his life.


  2. If Chesterton wrote this poem before 1900 he must have been a young man still. Strange that he would already have been pondering his “golden years”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem, Gretchen. G. K. Chesterton is an author I’d wanted to explore more, esp. his poetry. I’d enjoyed very much The Man Who Was Thursday, intriguing and perplexing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also went on a search upon reading this post. Couldn’t find a specific date either, but I did get distracted reading other poems and essays. Been far too many years since I enjoyed his words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not come across this poem before but what lovely words. I adore poetry and the way words can flow together in ways that are so beautiful. The leaves here, on the plane trees along our neighbour’s fence, are indeed golden right now and so I’ll think of these words when I see them. Meg:)

    Liked by 1 person

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