American Poet, Critic, Editor
William Cullen Bryant
American Poet, Critic, Editor
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.
Pain dies quickly, and lets her weary prisoners go; the fiercest agonies have shortest reign.
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, old ocean's gray and melancholy waste, ? are but the solemn decorations all of the great tomb of man.
The hills, rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun.
The summer day is closed - the sun is set: well they have done their office, those bright hours, the latest of whose train goes softly out in the red west. The green blade of the ground has risen, and herds have cropped it; the young twig has spread its plaited tissues to the sun; flowers of the garden and the waste have blown and withered; seeds have fallen upon the soil, from bursting cells, and in their graves await their resurrection. Insects from the pools have filled the air awhile with humming wings, that now are still forever; painted moths have wandered the blue sky, and died again.
They waste us-ay-like April snow In the warm noon, we shrink away; And fast they follow, as we go Towards the setting day- Till they shall fill the land, and we Are driven into the Western sea.
Ah, passing few are they who speak, wild, stormy month! In praise of thee; yet though thy winds are loud and bleak, thou art a welcome month to me. For thou, to northern lands, again the glad and glorious sun dost bring, and thou hast joined the gentle train and wear'st the gentle name of spring.
Another hand thy sword shall wield, another hand the standard wave, till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed the blast of triumph o'er thy grave.
Do not the bright June roses blow to meet thy kiss at morning hours?
Here the free spirit of mankind, at length, throws its last fetters off; and who shall place a limit to the giant's unchained strength, or curb his swiftness in the forward race?
Modest and shy as a nun is she; one weak chirp is her only note; braggarts and prince of braggarts is he, pouring boasts from his little throat.