Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant

"THE DEAD LEAVES STROW THE FOREST WALK."

"The dead leaves strow the forest walk,
And wither'd are the pale wild-flowers;
The frost hangs blackening on the stalk,
The dewdrops fall in frozen showers.
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Gone are the spring's green sprouting bowers,
Gone summer's rich and mantling vines,
And Autumn, with her yellow hours,
On hill and plain no longer shines.
I learn'd a clear and wild-toned note,
That rose and swell'd from yonder tree.
A gay bird, with too sweet a throat,
There perch'd and raised her song for me.
The winter comes, and where is she?
Away—where summer wings will rove,
Where buds are fresh, and every tree
Is vocal with the notes of love.
Too mild the breath of southern sky,
Too fresh the flower that blushes there,
The northern breeze that rustles by,
Finds leaves too green and buds too fair;
No forest-tree stands stripp'd and bare,
No stream beneath the ice is dead,
No mountain-top, with sleety hair,
Bends o'er the snows its reverend head.
Go there with all the birds, and seek
A happier clime, with livelier flight,
Kiss, with the sun, the evening's cheek,
And leave me lonely with the night.
I'll gaze upon the cold north light,
And mark where all its glories shone—
See!—that it all is fair and bright,
Feel—that it all is cold and gone."