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.
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.