Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant


WHERE yonder humbler spire salutes the eye,
It's vane slow turning in the liquid sky,
Where, in light gambols, healthy striplings sport,
Ambitious learning builds her outer court,
A grave preceptor, there, her usher stands,
And rules without a rod her little bands.
Some half-grown sprigs of learning graced his brow:
Little he knew, though much he wish'd to know,
Enchanted hung o'er Virgil's honey'd lay,
And smiled to see desipient Horace play;
Glean'd scraps of Greek; and, curious, traced afar,
Through Pope's clear glass, the bright Mæonian star
Yet oft his students at his wisdom stared,
For many a student to his side repair'd,
Surprised, they heard him Dilworth's knots untie,
And tell what lands beyond the Atlantic lie.
Many his faults; his virtues small, and few;
Some little good he did, or strove to do,
Laborious still, he taught the early mind,
And urged to manners meek and thoughts refined;
Truth he impress'd, and every virtue praised;
While infant eyes in wondering silence gazed;
The worth of time would day by day unfold,
And tell them every hour was made of gold.