American Poet, Critic, Editor
William Cullen Bryant
American Poet, Critic, Editor
A sculptor wields the chisel, and the stricken marble grows to beauty.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, the fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
Death should come gently to one of gentle mold, like thee, as light winds, wandering through groves of bloom, detach the delicate blossoms from the tree, close thy sweet eyes calmly, and without pain, and we will trust in god to see thee yet again.
Hark to that shrill, sudden shout, the cry of an applauding multitude, swayed by some loud-voiced orator who wields the living mass as if he were its soul!
Loveliest of lovely things are they on earth that soonest pass away. The rose that lives its little hour is prized beyond the sculptured flower.
On rolls the stream with a perpetual sigh; the rocks moan wildly as it passes by; hyssop and wormwood border all the strand, and not a flower adorns the dreary land.
Tender pauses speak the overflow of gladness, when words are all too weak.
The gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds.
The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore, and sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
These struggling tides of life that seem in wayward, aimless course to tend, are eddies of the mighty stream that rolls to its appointed end.
A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep.
And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief.
Deep in the brightness of the skies the thronging years in glory rise. And, as they fleet, drop strength and riches at thy feet.
He who, from zone to zone, guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, in the long way that i must tread alone, will lead my steps aright.
Maidens? hearts are always soft: would that men's were truer!
Or, bide thou where the poppy blows with windflowers fail and fair.
That delicate forest flower, with scented breath and look so like a smile, seems, as it issues from the shapeless mold, an emanation of the indwelling Life, a visible token of the upholding Love, that are the soul of this great universe.
The groves were God's first temple. Ere man learned to hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, and spread the roof above them,--ere he framed the lofty vault, to gather and roll back the sound of anthems; in the darkling wood, amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down and offered to the mightiest solemn thanks and supplication.
The stormy March has come at last, with wind, and cloud, and changing skies; I hear the rushing of the blast, that through the snowy valley flies.
They talk of short-lived pleasures?be it so?pain dies as quickly: stern, hard-featured pain expires, and lets her weary prisoner go. The fiercest agonies have shortest reign; and after dreams of horror, comes again the welcome morning with its rays of peace.
Ah, never shall the land forget how gush'd the life-blood of the brave, gush'd warm with hope and courage yet, upon the soil they fought to save!
And wrath has left its scar -- that fire of hell has left its frightful scar upon my soul.
Difficulty, my brethren, is the nurse of greatness -- a harsh nurse, who roughly rocks her foster-children into strength and athletic proportion. The mind grappling with great aims and wrestling with mighty ingredients, grows, by certain necessity, to their stature. Scarce anything so convinces me of the capacity of the human intellect for indefinite expansion in the different stages of its being, as this power of enlarging itself to the compass of surrounding emergencies.
Heed not the night; a summer lodge amid the wild is mine - 'tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, 'tis mantled by the vine.
Man hath no part in all this glorious work: the hand that built the firmament hath heaved and smoothed these verdant swells, and sown their slopes with herbage.