American Poet, Critic, Editor
William Cullen Bryant
American Poet, Critic, Editor
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.
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.