Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
Page  187


There were Seven Sisters, and each wore
A starry crown, as, hand in hand,
By Hesper woke, they led the hours—
The minstrels of his virgin band.
And Love would come at eve, as they
Were met their vesper hymn to sing,
And linger till it ceased, with eye
Of raptured gaze and folded wing.
For ne'er on earth, in air, were heard
More thrilling tones than, to the lyre
Of Heaven timed, rose nightly from
The lips of that young virgin choir.
But they were coy, or seeming coy,
Those minstrels of the twilight hour;
Nuns of the sky, as cold and shy,
As blossoms of the woodland bower.
'Twas eve, and Hesper came to wake
His starry troop, but wept—for one,
The brightest, fairest of the group,
Where all were bright and fair, was gone.
They found within her bower the harp
To which was tuned her vesper-hymn,
The star-gems of her coronet,
And one was with a teardrop dim.
They told how Love had at the gate
Of twilight linger'd, long before
The daylight set; but he was flown,
And she, the lost one, seen no more.