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William Cullen Bryant

(November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878 / Boston)

A Summer Ramble


The quiet August noon has come,
A slumberous silence fills the sky,
The fields are still, the woods are dumb,
In glassy sleep the waters lie.

And mark yon soft white clouds that rest
Above our vale, a moveless throng;
The cattle on the mountain's breast
Enjoy the grateful shadow long.

Oh, how unlike those merry hours
In early June when Earth laughs out,
When the fresh winds make love to flowers,
And woodlands sing and waters shout.

When in the grass sweet voices talk,
And strains of tiny music swell
From every moss-cup of the rock,
From every nameless blossom's bell.

But now a joy too deep for sound,
A peace no other season knows,
Hushes the heavens and wraps the ground,
The blessing of supreme repose.

Away! I will not be, to-day,
The only slave of toil and care.
Away from desk and dust! away!
I'll be as idle as the air.

Beneath the open sky abroad,
Among the plants and breathing things,
The sinless, peaceful works of God,
I'll share the calm the season brings.

Come, thou, in whose soft eyes I see
The gentle meanings of thy heart,
One day amid the woods with me,
From men and all their cares apart.

And where, upon the meadow's breast,
The shadow of the thicket lies,
The blue wild flowers thou gatherest
Shall glow yet deeper near thine eyes.

Come, and when mid the calm profound,
I turn, those gentle eyes to seek,
They, like the lovely landscape round,
Of innocence and peace shall speak.

Rest here, beneath the unmoving shade,
And on the silent valleys gaze,
Winding and widening, till they fade
In yon soft ring of summer haze.

The village trees their summits rear
Still as its spire, and yonder flock
At rest in those calm fields appear
As chiselled from the lifeless rock.

One tranquil mount the scene o'erlooks--
There the hushed winds their sabbath keep
While a near hum from bees and brooks
Comes faintly like the breath of sleep.

Well may the gazer deem that when,
Worn with the struggle and the strife,
And heart-sick at the wrongs of men,
The good forsakes the scene of life;

Like this deep quiet that, awhile,
Lingers the lovely landscape o'er,
Shall be the peace whose holy smile
Welcomes him to a happier shore.

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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