Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
Page  212


EARTH'S children cleave to earth: her frail,
Decaying children dread decay.
Yon wreath of mist that leaves the vale,
And lessens in the morning ray:
Look, how, by mountain rivulet,
It lingers, as it upward creeps,
And clings to fern and copsewood set
Along the green and dewy steps:
Clings to the fragrant kalmia, clings
To precipices fringed with grass,
Dark maples where the wood-thrush sings,
And bowers of fragrant sassafras.
Yet all in vain: it passes still
From hold to hold; it cannot stay;
And in the very beams that fill
The world with glory, wastes away.
Till, parting from the mountain's brow,
It vanishes from human eye,
And that which sprung of earth is now
A portion of the glorious sky.