Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
Page  188


ALL was so still that I could almost count
The tinklings of the falling leaves. At times,
Perchance, a nut was heard to drop, and then—
As if it had slipp'd from him as he struck
The meat—a squirrel's short and fretful bark.
Anon, a troop of noisy, roving jays,
Whisking their gaudy topknots, would surprise
And seize upon the top of some tall tree,
Shrieking, as if on purpose to enjoy
The consternation of the noontide stillness.
Roused by the din, the squirrel from his hole,
Like some grave justice bent to keep the peace,
Thrust his gray pate, much wondering what it meant
And squatted near me on a stone, there bask'd
A fly of larger breed and o'ergrown bulk,
In the warm sunshine, vain of his green coat
Of variable velvet laced with gold,
That, ever and anon, would whisk about,
Vexing the stillness with his buzzing din,
As human fopling will do with his talk:
And o'er the mossy post of an old fence,
Lured from its crannies by the warmth, was spied
A swarm of gay motes waltzing to a tune
Of their own humming. quiet sounds, that  [ gap: ;reason: printing error ] 
More deeply to impress us with a sense
Of silent loneliness and trackless ways.