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In this mournful poem, the speaker comments on and responds to the tears that spring to his eyes, unbidden, as he looks on the fields during the season of autumn and thinks about his past, and those things which are dead or gone. This season is often symbolic of a particular era in a human life—that of being past middle age and approaching old age and death; this symbolism seems to be used here as the speaker laments the fact that his earlier days (of spring and summer, perhaps) are long gone. He describes these bygone days as both fresh and sad: as fresh as the first glint of sunlight on the sail of a boat that brings someone up from Hades and as sad as the last ray of sunlight on the sail of a boat that takes a deceased loved one down to the underworld. These past days are also described as sad and...

(The entire section is 307 words.)