Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant


"SLEEP, child of my love! be thy slumber as light
As the redbird's that nestles secure on the spray;
Be the visions that visit thee fairy and bright
As the dewdrops that sparkle around with the ray!
Oh, soft flows the breath from thine innocent breast;
In the wild wood, sleep cradles in roses thy head;
But her who protects thee, a wanderer unbless'd,
He forsakes, or surrounds with his phantoms of dread.
I fear for thy father! why stays he so long
On the shores where the wife of the giant was thrown,
And the sailor oft linger'd to hearken her song,
So sad o'er the wave, ere she harden'd to stone.
He skims the blue tide in his birchen canoe,
Where the foe in the moonbeams his path may descry;
The ball to its scope may speed rapid and true,
And lost in the wave be thy father's death cry!
The POWER that is round us, whose presence is near,
In the gloom and the solitude felt by the soul,
Protect that frail bark in its lonely career,
And shield thee when roughly life's billows shall roll."