Слике страница

And dance and song and generous dower
Are in the shining grains we shower.
Scatter the wheat for shipwrecked men,
Who, hunger-worn, rejoice again

In the sweet safety of the shore,
And wanderers, lost in woodlands drear,
Whose pulses bound with joy to hear

The herd's light bell once more.

Freely the golden spray be shed
For him whose heart, when night comes down
On the close alleys of the town,

Is faint for lack of bread.
İn chill roof chambers, bleak and bare,
Or the damp cellar's stifling air,
She who now sees, in mute despair,

Her children pine for food,
Shall feel the dews of gladness start
To lids long tearless, and shall part
The sweet loaf, with a grateful heart,

Among her thin, pale brood.
Dear, kindly Earth, whose breast we till!
Oh, for thy famished children, fill,

Where'er the sower walks,
Fill the rich ears that shade the mould
With grain for grain, a hundredfold,

To bend the sturdy stalks.
Strew silently the fruitful seed,

As softly o’er the tilth ye tread,
For hands that delicately knead

The consecrated bread.
The mystic loaf that crowns the board,
When, round the table of their Lord,

Within a thousand temples set,
In memory the bitter death
Of Him who taught at Nazareth,

His followers are met,
And thoughtful eyes with tears are wet,

As of the Holy One they think,
The glory of whose rising, yet

Makes bright the grave's mysterious brink.

Brethren, tne sower's task is done.
The seed is in its winter bed.
Now let the dark brown mould be spread,

To hide it from the sun,
And leave it to the kindly care
Of the still earth and brooding air.
As when the mother, from her breast,
Lays the hushed babe apart to rest,
And shades its eyes and waits to see
How sweet its waking smile will be.
The tempest now may smite, the sleet
All night on the drowned furrow beat,
And winds that, from the cloudy hold,
Of winter breathe the bitter cold,
Stiffen to stone the mellow mould,

Yet safe shall lie the wheat;
Till, out of heaven's unmeasured blue,

Shall walk again the genial year,
To wake with warmth and nurse with dew,

The germs we lay to slumber here.

Oh blessed harvest yet to be!

Abide thou with the love that keeps, In its warm bosom, tenderly,

The life which wakes and that which sleeps. The love that leads the willing spheres Along the unending track of years, And watches o'er the sparrow's nest, Shall brood above thy winter rest, And raise thee from the dust, to hold

Light whisperings with the winds of May, And fill thy spikes with living gold,

From summer's yellow ray,
Then, as thy garners give thee forth,

On what glad errands shalt thou go,
Wherever, o'er the waiting earth,

Roads wind and rivers flow. The ancient East shall welcome thee To mighty marts beyond the sea, And they who dwell where palm groves sound To summer winds the whole year round,

Shall watch, in gladness, from the shore,
The sails that bring thy glistening store.

STAND here by my side and turn, I pray,

On the lake below thy gentle eyes ;
The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,

And dark and silent the water lies;
And out of that frozen mist the snow
In wavering flakes begins to flow;

Flake after flake, They sink in the dark and silent lake. See how in a living swarm they come

From the chambers beyond that misty veil ;
Some hover awhile in air, and some

Rush prone from the sky like summer hail.
All, dropping swiftly or settling slow,
Meet, and are still in the depths below;

Flake after flake
Dissolved in the dark and silent lake.

Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud,

Come floating downward in airy play, Like spangles dropped from the glistening crowd

That whiten by night the milky way;
There broader and burlier masses fall;
The sullen water buries them all-

Flake after flake-
All drowned in the dark and silent lake.

And some, as on tender wings they glide

From their chilly birth-cloud, dim and gray, Are joined in their fall, and, side by side,

Come clinging along their unsteady way; As friend with friend, or husband with wife, Makes, hand in hand, the passage of life;

Each mated flake Soon sinks in the dark and silent lake.

Lol while we are gazing, in swifter haste

Stream down the snows, till the air is white,

As, myriads by myriads madly chaseil,

They Aing themselves from their shadowy height.
The fair, frail creatures of middle sky,
What speed they make, with their grave so nigh;

Flake after flake,
To lie in the dark and silent lake!

I see in thy gentle eyes a tear;

They turn to me in sorrowful thought;
Thou thinkest of friends, the good and dear,

Who were for a time and now are not;
Like these fair children of cloud and frost,
That glisten a moment and then are lost,

.Flake after flake-
All lost in the dark and silent lake.

Yet look again, for the clouds divide;

A gleam of blue on the water lies;
And far away, on the mountain-side,

A sunbeam falls from the opening skies.
But the hurrying host that flew between
The cloud and the water, no more is seen;

Flake after flake,
At rest in the dark and silent lake.

The following is perhaps the best of Bryant's few attempts at lyric poetry of the patriotic sort:

[ocr errors]

Lay down the axe; fling by the spade;

Leave in its track the toiling plough;
The rifle and the bayonet blade

For arms like yours were fitter now;
And let the hands that ply the pen

Quit the light task, and learn to wield
The horseman's crooked brand, and rein

The charger on the battle field.
Our country calls; away! away!

To where the blood-stream blots the green.
Strike to defend the gentlest sway
That Time in all his course has seen.

See, from a thousand coverts—see,

Spring the armed foes that haunt her track They rush to smite her down, and we

Must beat the banded traitors back.

Ho! sturdy as the oaks ye cleave,

And moved as soon tc fear and flight, Men of the glade and forest ! leave

Your woodcraft for the field of fight.
The arms that wield the axe must pour

An iron tempest on the foe;
His serried ranks shall reel before

The arm that lays the panther low.
And ye, who breast the mountain storm

By grassy steep or highland lake,
Come, for the land ye love, to form

A bulwark that no foe can break.
Stand, like your own gray cliffs that mock

The whirlwind, stand in her defence;
The blast as soon shall move the rock

As rushing squadrons bear ye thence.
And ye, whose homes are by her grand

Swift rivers, rising far away,
Come from the depth of her green land,

As mighty in your march as they ;
As terrible as when the rains

Have swelled them over bank and bourne With sudden floods to drown the plains

And sweep along the woods uptorn.

And ye, who throng, beside the deep,

Her ports and hamlets of the strand In number like the waves that leap

On his long murmuring marge of sand
Come, like that deep, when, o'er his brim

He rises, all his floods to pour,
And flings the proudest barks that swim,

A helpless wreck, against his shore.

Few, few were they whose swords of old

Won the fair land in which we dwell;

« ПретходнаНастави »