Quotes by William Cullen Bryant
Remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase
Are fruits of innocence and blessedness.
Here the free spirit of mankind, at length,
Throws its last fetters off; and who shall place
A limit to the giant's unchained strength,
Or curb his swiftness in the forward race!
Weep not that the world changes—did it keep
A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep.
Thou unrelenting Past!
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain,
And fetters, sure and fast,
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.
The groves were God's first temples.
Heed not the night; a summer lodge amid the wild is mine -
'Tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, 'tis mantled by the vine.
He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
Maidens hearts are always soft:
Would that men's were truer!
Loveliest of lovely things are they,
On earth, that soonest pass away.
The rose that lives its little hour
Is prized beyond the sculptured flower.
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
These are the gardens of the Desert, these
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,
For which the speech of England has no name—
The Prairies.
The little wind-flower, whose just opened eye
Is blue as the spring heaven it gazes at.
Thine eyes are springs in whose serene
And silent waters heaven is seen;
Their lashes are the herbs that look
On their young figures in the brook.
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief,
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore,
And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
These struggling tides of life that seem
In wayward, aimless course to tend,
Are eddies of the mighty stream
That rolls to its appointed end.
Ah, why
Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect
God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore
Only among the crowd and under roofs
That our frail hands have raised?
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,
And dies among his worshippers.
Glorious are the woods in their latest gold and crimson,
Yet our full-leaved willows are in the freshest green.
Such a kindly autumn, so mercifully dealing
With the growths of summer, I never yet have seen.
When April winds
Grew soft, the maple burst into a flush
Of scarlet flowers. The tulip tree, high up,
Opened in airs of June her multitude
Of golden chalices to humming-birds
And silken-wing'd insects of the sky.
Wild was the day; the wintry sea
Moaned sadly on New England's strand,
When first the thoughtful and the free,
Our fathers, trod the desert land.
The summer morn is bright and fresh, the birds are darting by,
As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky.
The victory of endurance born.
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Oh, sun! that o'er the western mountains now
Goest down in glory! ever beautiful
And blessed is thy radiance, whether thou
Colourest the eastern heaven and night-mist cool,
Till the bright day-star vanish, or on high
Climbest and streamest thy white splendours from mid-sky.
The rugged trees are mingling
Their flowery sprays in love;
The ivy climbs the laurel
To clasp the boughs above.
They talk of short-lived pleasures—be it so—
pain dies as quickly: stern, hard-featured pain
Expires, and lets her weary prisoner go.
The fiercest agonies have shortest reign;
And after dreams of horror, comes again
The welcome morning with its rays of peace.
William Cullen Bryant's Biography
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