Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
THE TWENTY THOUSAND CHILDREN OF THE SABBATH SCHOOLS IN NEW-YORK, CELEBRATING TOGETHER THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1839.
OH, sight sublime! oh, sight of fear!
The shadowing of infinity!
Numbers! whose murmur rises here
Like whisperings of the mighty sea.
Ye bring strange vision to my gaze;
Earth's dreamer, heaven before me swims;
The sea of glass, the throne of days,
Crowns, harps, and the melodious hymns.
Ye rend the air with grateful songs
For freedom by old warriors won:
Oh, for the battle which your throngs
May wage and win through David's Son!
Wealth of young beauty! that now blooms
Before me like a world of flowers;
High expectation! that assumes
The hue of life's serenest hours,
Are ye decaying? Must these forms,
So agile, fair, and brightly gay,
Hidden in dust, be given to worms
And everlasting night the prey?
Are ye immortal? Will this mass
Of life, be life, undying still,
When all these sentient thousands pass
To where corruption works its will?