Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
Page  276


Now fluttering breeze, now stormy blast,
Mild rain, then blustering snow:
Winter's stern, lettering cold is pass'd,
But sweet Spring! where are thou?
The white cloud floats mid smiling blue,
The broad bright sunshine's golden hue
Bathes the still frozen earth:
'Tis changed! above, black vapours roll:
We turn from our expected stroll,
And seek the blazing hearth.
Hark! that sweet carol! with delight
We leave the stifling room!
The little bluebird greets our sight,
Spring, glorious Spring has come!
The south wind's balm is in the air,
The melting snow-wreathes everywhere
Are leaping off in showers;
And Nature, in her brightening looks,
Tells that her flowers, and leaves, and brooks,
And birds will soon be ours.
A few soft, sunny days have shone,
The air has lost its chill,
A bright green tinge succeeds the brown
Upon the southern hill.
Off to the woods! a pleasant scene!
Here sprouts the fresh young wintergreen,
There swells a mossy mound;
Though in the hollows drifts are piled,
The wandering wind is sweet and mild,
And buds are bursting round.
Where its long rings uncurls the fern,
The violet, nestling low,
Casts back the white lid of its urn,
Its purple streaks to show:
Page  277
Beautiful blossom! first to rise
And smile beneath Spring's wakening skies,
The courier of the band
Of coming flowers, what feelings sweet
Gush, as the silvery gem we meet
Upon its slender wand.
A sudden roar—a shade is cast—
We look up with a start,
And, sounding like a transient blast,
O'erhead the pigeons dart;
Scarce their blue glancing shapes the eye
Can trace, ere, dotted on the sky,
They wheel in distant flight.
A chirp! and swift the squirrel scours
Along the prostrate trunk, and cowers
Within its clefts from sight.
Amid the creeping vine, which spreads
Its thick and verdant wreath,
The scaurberry's downy spangle sheds
Its rich, delicious breath.
The bee-swarm murmurs by, and now
It clusters black on yonder bough:
The tobin's mottled breast
Glances that sunny spot across,
As round it seeks the twig and moss
To frame its summer nest.
Warmer is each successive sky,
More soft the breezes pass,
The maple's gems of crimson lie
Upon the thick green grass.
The dogwood sheds its clusters white,
The birch has dropp'd its tassels slight,
Cowslips are round the rill;
The thresher whistles in the glen,
Flutters around the warbling wren,
And swamps have voices shrill.
Page  278
A simultaneous burst of leaves
Has clothed the forest now,
A single day's bright sunshine weaves
This vivid, gorgeous show.
Masses of shade are cast beneath,
The flowers are spread in varied wreath,
Night brings its soft, sweet moon;
Morn wakes in mist, and twilight gray
Weeps its bright dew, and smiling May
Melts into blooming June!