Poem for November: Autumn, by Thomas Nashe


Thomas Nashe

Autumn hath all the summer’s fruitful treasure ;

Gone is our sport, fled is poor Croydon’s pleasure.

Short days, sharp days, long nights come on apace,—

Ah, who shall hide us from the winter’s face?

Cold doth increase, the sickness will not cease,

And here we lie, God knows, with little ease.

From winter, plague, and pestilence, good Lord deliver us!

London doth mourn, Lambeth is quite forlorn ;

Trades cry, Woe worth that ever they were born.

The want of term is town and city’s harm ;

Close chambers we do want to keep us warm.

Long banished must we live from our friends ;

This low-built house will bring us to our ends.

From winter, plague, and pestilence, good Lord deliver us!

I’m not so much a fan of winter. I memorized this poem simply so I could declaim the last line in each stanza on particularly nasty days.

This was somewhat challenging to memorize, mostly because I wasn’t sure what some of the references were. Because I memorize while walking, I tended to forget to look up “Croydon” (now a commercial center south of London) and “Lambeth” (a district of South London) and see what they were. For difficult lines I tend to associate words with a picture in my mind. This is very hard to do when you don’t have any idea what the poet is talking about. And “want of term” what does that mean? Ah! I’ve just googled it and found a link with a website that tells me. It means “lack of an end” which makes sense now. It also helpfully decodes Croydon and Lambeth. Thanks, Poets Corner!

3 thoughts on “Poem for November: Autumn, by Thomas Nashe”

  1. This one is very lovely. Great choice. The question is – can you still say it line by line in June?

  2. Yep-per! I have a whole review system in place so I retain the poems. It's a future blog post, yet to be written.

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