William Cullen Bryant
an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.
Bryant was born on November 3, 1794, in a log cabin near Cummington, Massachusetts; the home of his birth is today marked with a plaque. He was the second son of Peter Bryant, a doctor and later a state legislator, and Sarah Snell. His maternal ancestry traces back to passengers on the Mayflower; his father's, to colonists who arrived about a dozen years later.
Bryant and his family moved to a new home when he was two years old. The William Cullen Bryant Homestead, his boyhood home, is now a museum. After just two years at Williams College, he studied law in Worthington and ... more »
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William Cullen Bryant Poems
To him who in the love of nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
To a Waterfowl
Whither, midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?
A Forest Hymn
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
Ay, thou art for the grave; thy glances shine Too brightly to shine long; another Spring Shall deck her for men's eyes---but not for thine--- Sealed in a sleep which knows no wakening.
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 sere. 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 Yellow Violet
When beechen buds begin to swell, And woods the blue-bird's warble know, The yellow violet's modest bell Peeps from last-year's leaves below.
Hymn To Death
Oh! could I hope the wise and pure in heart Might hear my song without a frown, nor deem My voice unworthy of the theme it tries,-- I would take up the hymn to Death, and say
I had a dream--a strange, wild dream-- Said a dear voice at early light; And even yet its shadows seem To linger in my waking sight.
After a Tempest
The day had been a day of wind and storm;-- The wind was laid, the storm was overpast,-- And stooping from the zenith, bright and warm Shone the great sun on the wide earth at last.
Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun! One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air, Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran, Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare.
O constellations of the early night, That sparkled brighter as the twilight died, And made the darkness glorious! I have seen Your rays grow dim upon the horizon's edge,
A Song for New Year's Eve
Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay— Stay till the good old year, So long companion of our way, Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath! When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf, And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
The Death of Lincoln
Oh, slow to smit and swift to spare, Gentle and merciful and just! Who, in the fear of God, didst bear The sword of power, a nation's trust!
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Difficulty, my brethren, is the nurse of greatnessa harsh nurse, who roughly rocks her foster-children into strength and athletic proportion.''William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), U.S. poet, editor. Speech, December 15, 1851.
Comments about William Cullen Bryant
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To him who in the love of nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty; and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy that steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;--
Go forth, under the ...