Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant


LIGHT as love's smiles, the silvery mist at morn
Floats in loose flakes along the limpid river;
The bluebird's notes, upon the soft breeze borne,
As high in air she carols, faintly quiver:
The weeping birch, like banners idly waving,
Bends to the stream, its spicy branches laving;
Beaded with dew the witch elm's tassels shiver,
The timid rabbit from the furze is peeping,
And from the springy spray the squirrel's gayly leaping.
I love thee, Autumn, for thy scenery, ere
The blasts of winter chase the varied dyes
That gayly deck the slow-declining year;
I love the splendour of thy sunset skies,
The gorgeous hues that tinge each falling leaf,
Lovely as Beauty's cheek, as woman's love too brief;
I love the note of each wild bird that flies,
As on the wind she pours her parting lay,
And wings her loitering flight to summer climes away.
Oh, Nature! still I fondly turn to time
With feelings fresh as e'er my childhood's were;
Though wild and passion-toss'd my youth may be,
Towards thee I still the same devotion bear;
To thee—to thee—though health and hope no more
Life's wasted verdure may to me restore—
I still can, childlike, come as when in prayer
I bow'd my head upon a mother's knee,
And deem'd the world, like her, all truth and purity