« ПретходнаНастави »
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings-yet—the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
· In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure ? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come,
And make their bed with thee.
As the long train
Of ages glides away, the sons of men,
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron, and maid,
And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man, –
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan,
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
In 1821, Bryant published, together with other poems, The Ages, a Phi Beta Kappa poem delivered at Harvard College. “There is running through the whole of this little collection a strain of pure and high sentiment, that expands and lifts up the soul, and brings it nearer to the source of moral beauty."*
* North American Review, vol. xiii.
Abandoning the law in 1825 for literature, he came to New York, and edited successively “ The New York Revieu and Atheneum Magazine," and "The United States Review and Literary Gazette.” Through these works were ushered into public notice The Disinterred Warrior, The African Chief, The Indian Girl's Lament, and
THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie
dead: They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread. The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the
jay, And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang
and stood In brighter light, and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood ? Alas! they all are in their graves, the gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours. The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November raini Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again. The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago, And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer
glow; But on the hill the golden rod, and the aster in the wood, And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty
stood, lill fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the
plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland,
glade, and glen.
And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such days
Tu call the squirrel and the bce from out their winter home;
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees
are still, And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill, The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance lato
he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more. And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side: In the cold moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf, And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief: Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.
The Murdered Traveller, The Old Man's Funeral, A Forest Hymn, March, and other poems, first appeared in The United States Gazette, published at Boston. The most significant of these we quote:
THE groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned
To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,
And spread the roof above them,-ere he framed
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back
The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,
Amid the cool and silence, he knelt down,
And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
For his simple heart
Might not resist the sacred influences
Which, from the stilly twilight of the place,
And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven
Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound
Of the invisible breath that swayed at once
Ali their green tops, stole over him, and bowed
His spirit with the thought of boundless power
And inaccessible majesty.
Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect
God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore
Only among the crowd, and under roof's
That our frail hands have raised ? Let me, at least,
Here, in the shadow of this ancient wood,
Offer one hymn—thrice happy if it find
Acceptance in His ear.
Father, thy hand
Hath reared these venerable columns, thou
Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down
Upon the naked earth, and, forthwith, rose
All these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun,
Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze,
And shot towards heaven. The century-living crow,
Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died
Among their branches, till, at last, they stood,
As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark,
Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold
Communion with his Maker.
These dim vaults,
These winding aisles, of human pomp or pride
Report not. No fantastic carvings show
The boast of our vain race to change the form
Of thy fair works. But thou art here—thou fill'st
The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds
That run along the summit of these trees
In music; thou art in the cooler breath
That from the inmost darkness of the place
Comes, scarcely felt; the barky trunks, the ground,
The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee.
Here is continual worship;-nature, here,
In the tranquillity that thou dost love,
Enjoys thy presence.
From perch to perch, the solitary bird
Passes; and yon clear spring, that, midst its herbs,
Wells softly forth, and, wandering, steeps the roots
Oi half the mighty forest, tells no tale
Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left
Thyself without a witness, in these shades,
Of thy perfections. Grandeur, strength, and grace
Are here to speak of thee.
This mighty oak-
By whose inımovable stem I stand and seem
Almost annihilated-not a prince,
In all that proud old world beyond the deep,
E’er wore his crown as loftily as he
Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root
Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare
Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower
With scented breath, and look so like a smile,
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould,
An emanation of the indwelling Life,
A visible token of the upholding Love,
That are the soul of this wide universe.
My heart is awed within me when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on,
In silence, round me—the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed
Written on thy works I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Lo! all grow old and die—but see again
How on the faltering footstep of decay
Youtn presses—ever gay and beautiful youth,
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly than their ancestors
Molder beneath them.
Oh, there is not lost
One of earth's charms: upon her bosom yet,
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies
And yet shall lie. Life macks the idle hate
Of his arch enemy Death-yea, seats himself
Upon the tyrant's throne, the sepulchre-
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foo
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.
There have been holy men who hid themselves Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived The generation born with them, nor seemed Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks Around them ;-and there have been holy men