« ForrigeFortsett »
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT
(D. Appleton & Co., Publishers) WILLIAM CyllEN BRYANT, poet and journalist, born at Cummington, Mass., 1794; died in New York, 1878. When only nine he wrote his first poems. The Embargo Act stirred the country in 1807, and young Bryant published a number of satirical poems in regard to it that had wide circulation. In 1825 he became an editor of a magazine in New York and his life from that time was devoted entirely to literary work on magazines and newspapers. For many years he was editor and proprietor of the New York Evening Post.
TO A WATERFOWL WHITHER, mid'st falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
On the chafed ocean side?
There is a Power whose care
All day thy wings have fanned,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou 'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
And shall not soon depart.
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.
THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS
THE melancholy days are come, the saddest of the
I year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows
brown and sear. Heaped in the hollows of the groves, the withered
leaves lie dead; They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's
The robin and the wren are flown, and from their
shrubs the jay, And from the wood-top calls the crow through all
the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that
lately sprang and stood In brighter light and softer airs--a beauteous sister
hood? Alas! they are all in their graves: the gentle race of
flowers Are lying in their beds, with the fair and good of
ours, The rain is falling where they lie; but the cold
November rain Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones
The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long
ago; And the brier-rose and the orchids died amid the
summer glow: But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the
wood, And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn
beauty stood, Till fell the frost from the clear, cold heaven as
falls the plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone froin up
land, glade, and glen.
And now, when comes the calm, mild day--as still
such days will comeTo call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter
home, When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though
all the trees are still, And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the
rill, The south wind searches for the flowers whose fra
grance late he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty
died, The fair, meek blossom that grew up and faded
by my side:In the cold, moist earth we laid her, when the
forest cast the leaf; And we wept that one so lovely should have a life
so brief.Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young
friend of ours So gentle and so beautiful-should perish with the
m o him who, in the love of Nature, holds
1 Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language: for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty; and she glides Into his darker musings with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heartGo forth under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all aroundEarth and her waters, and the depths of airComes a still voice:-Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again;
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Yet not to thy eternal resting-place
all, Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste,Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man ! The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there ! And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep-the dead reign there alone ! So shalt thou rest; and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure ? All that breathe