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Summer is gone, and the autumn winds
Are stripping the leaves from the trembling trees;
The garden is lonely, its treasures are blown
Far, far away on the chilling breeze;


The skies have lost their wonderful blue,
And darken and change with the changing year;
And the dead leaves lie on the roadside brown,
Since nature has grown so sad and drear.


I walked alone o'er the garden path:
My heart was troubled with gloom and doubt.
"Alas!" I thought, "for the many sweet things
That have gone with the beautiful summer out!"


Down the walk on her dancing feet
My one best treasure came merrily.
Her dear voice rang thro' the frosty air:
"A handful of flowers! See, mother, see!


"They were all I could find that the cold had spared,
But they waited to cheer us a little while!
And I guess, mamma, that the summer meant
To say good-bye with just one last smile!"


I gathered my darling within my arms,
The blue of summer was in her eyes,
And the pure, sweet heart I knew was full
Of the beautiful sunshine of summer skies.


Ah! autumn might come with frost and gloom,
And shadows might come and go at will,
But the Lord of heaven and earth was good
To spare my heart's garden one flower still!


The joys He had taken would live again
In his own fair garden of peace and rest;
And I said in my heart, "Come shadow or shine,
The dear Lord doeth and knoweth best.


"Tho' over my life a cloud has passed,
And the glory of summer I may not see,
If I search my heart I am sure to find
A 'handful of flowers' you left for me.


"And winter will pass in its own good time,
And the verdure now dead will live again;
And peace, and trust, and faith, and love
Shall all be born from my present pain."


So I lifted mine eyes from the leaf-strewn ground,
And looked far off at the autumn sky,
And I knew that the shadows that dimmed its blue
Would vanish and fade in the "by-and-by."


Oh! hearts that weep, and are prone to yield
To the touch of gloom in this world of ours,
Go search yourselves, and you'll always find
That there still remains a "handful of flowers."