Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant


OH thou delicious Spring!
Nursed in the lap of thin and subtle showers,
Which fall from clouds that lift their snowy wing
From odorous beds of light-infolded flowers,
And from enmass'd bowers,
That over grassy walks their greenness fling,
Come, gentle Spring!
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Thou lover of young wind,
That cometh from the invisible upper sea
Beneath the sky, which clouds, its white foam, bind,
And, settling in the trees deliciously,
Makes young leaves dance with glee,
Even in the teeth of that old sober hind,
Winter unkind,
Come to us; for thou art
Like the fine love of children, gentle Spring!
Touching the sacred feeling of the heart,
Or like a virgin's pleasant welcoming;
And thou dost ever bring
A tide of gentle but resistless art
Upon the heart.
Red Autumn from the south
Contends with thee; alas! what may he show?
What are his purple-stain'd and rosy mouth,
And browned checks, to thy soft feet of snow,
And timid, pleasant glow,
Giving earth-piercing flowers their primal growth,
And greenest youth?
Gay Summer conquers thee;
And yet he has no beauty such as thine:
What is his ever-streaming, fiery sea,
To the pure glory that with thee doth shine?
Thou season most divine,
What may his dull and lifeless minstrelsy
Compare with thee?
Come, sit upon the hills,
And bid the waking streams leap down their side,
And green the vales with their slight-sounding rills
And when the stars upon the sky shall glide,
And crescent Dian ride,
I too will breathe of thy delicious thrills,
On grassy hills.
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Alas! bright Spring, not long
Shall I enjoy thy pleasant influence;
For thou shalt die the summer heat among,
Sublimed to vapour in his fire intense,
And, gone for ever hence,
Exist no more: no more to earth belong,
Except in song.
So I who sing shall die:
Worn unto death, perchance, by care and sorrow
And, fainting thus with an unconscious sigh,
Bid unto this poor body a good-morrow,
Which now sometimes I borrow,
And breathe of joyance keener and more high
Ceasing to sigh!