Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant

SEPTEMBER.

THE sultry summer past, September comes,
Soft twilight of the slow-declining year.
All mildness, soothing loneliness, and peace;
The fading season ere the falling come,
More sober than the buxom blooming May,
And therefore less the favourite of the world,
But dearest month of all to pensive minds.
'Tis now far spent; and the meridian sun,
Most sweetly smiling with attempered beams,
Sheds gently down a mild and grateful warmth.
Beneath its yellow lustre groves and woods,
Checker'd by one night's frost with various hues,
While yet no wind has swept a leaf away,
Shine doubly rich. It were a sad delight
Down the smooth stream to glide, and see it tinged
Upon each brink with all the gorgeous hues,
The yellow, red, or purple of the trees
That singly, or in tufts, or forests thick
Adorn the shores; to see, perhaps, the side
Of some high mount reflected far below
With its bright colours, intermix'd with spots
Of darker green. Yes, it were sweetly sad
To wander in the open fields, and hear,
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E'en at this hour, the noonday hardly past,
The lulling insects of the summer's night;
To hear, where lately buzzing swarms were heard,
A lonely bee long roving here and there
To find a single flower, but all in vain;
Then rising quick and with a louder hum,
In widening circles round and round his head,
Straight by the listener flying clear away,
As if to bid the fields a last adieu;
To hear within the woodland's sunny side,
Late fall of music, nothing save perhaps
The sound of nutshells by the squirrel dropp'd
From some tall beech fast falling through the leaves.