Poetry: An Evening Reverie
First published in the January 1841 issue of the literary magazine The Knickerbocker.
The summer dny has cluseil- the sun is set: Well have they done their office, thoso brigh hours, Tho latest of wliose train goe3 sorily out Ã¯n the red Wes'. The green hinde oÃ tho groum Has risen, nnd lierds have cropped it; tho youn; twig Has spread is plnited tissues lo the suh; Flowers of tho garden nnd the waste hnve blowi And wfthered: seeds liave fallen upÃ³n the-foil From bursting cells, and in their gravea awai The resurrection. Insects front, the p.ools Have filled the air awhile with humming wings That now are stÃ¼l for ever; priinted moths Have wandered the blue sky. and Ã¡ied again: The inotlier-bird hath hroken, for her brood, Their pnson cell#, or shoved therh from the nest. Plumed for theireailiest flight. In bright alcoves. In Woodland cottages with barky walls, In noisome cells of the tumultuous town, Mothers haveclnsped wÃ¯thjoy the nevv-born babe Graves by the lonely forest, by the shorea Of ri vers and of ocenn, hy the ways Of the thronged city, have been hollowed out And filled, and closed. This day hath pirted friends That. ne'er before were parted; it hath knit New friendship; it hath seen the muiden pliglit Her faith. and trust her pence to him who long Had wooed; and it hath heard, Aoai lips which late Were eloquent of love, the first har-li word That told the wedded one her peace was flown. Farewell to the sweet sunshine! One glad day Is added now to Childhood's merry dnys, And one calm day to those of quiet Age. Still the fleet hours run on; anu as I lean Amid the thickening lnrkn"8s, lanipsare lit, By those who watch the dead, nnd those who twine Flowers for the bride. The mother from the eyes Of her sick infant shades the painful light, And sadly Ã¼stens to liis quick-drawn brcath. Oh thou grent Movement of the Universe. Or Change. or Flight of Time - for ye are one! That bearesf, silently, this visible scÃ¨ne Into Night'8 shndow and the streaming rays OF starlight, whitlier ari thou hearing me1? I feel the niigl'ty currer.t sweep me on, Yet know not whiiher. Man foretells afur Thecoursesol the stnrs, the very hour He knows wlien they sliall darken or grow bright, Yet doih t!ie eclipse of Sorrow nnd of Death Come unforewarnsd. Who ne.xt of those I love Shall pass from life, or, sadder yet, shall fall From virtue? Stiife withfocs, or bilterer strife With friends, or shameand general scorn of men. WhÃch who can bear? - or ihe fierce rack of pain. Lie they wiihin my path? Or shall the years Push me, with soft and inofFcnsive pace, Into the stilly iwilight of my age? Or do the portols of another life F.ven now, wh Ie I am glorying in my strength, Impend nround me? Oh! bevond that bournc, In the vast cyclc of being which begins . At thnt brond il)ieshhold. wiih what f.iirer fonns Shnll the great law of change and progress clothe lts workings? Gently - so have good nica taught, Gently, and without grief, the old shall glido Into tbr new; the eternal (low of things, Like a bright river of the fields of hen ven, Shall journey onward in perpetual poace.
William Cullen Bryant
Signal of Liberty