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With delicate breath, and look so like a smile,1
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mold,2
An emanation of the indwelling Life,
A visible token of the upholding Love,
That are the soul of this wide universe.

My heart is awed within me, when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on
In silence, round me; the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed
For ever.
Written on thy works, I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.

Lo! all grow old and die; but see, again,
How on the faltering footsteps of decay 5
Youth presses, ever gay and beautiful youth,
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly that their ancestors 6
Molder beneath them. O, there is not lost
One of earth's charms: upon her bosom yet,
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies,
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate
Of his arch-enemy, Death:8 yea, seats himself

1 so like a smile. What figure? 5 faltering footsteps of decay.

2 mold. For what plain word is | Explain the expression.

this poetic term used?

6 ancestors. Is the application

3 emanation ... token. In of this term to an inanimate obwhich case are these nouns? ject literal or figurative?

7 arch. This prefix (from the Greek prefix archi, first, chief) is compounded with many nouns, and intensifies their meaning.

8 Death. What is the figure?


4 Of the great miracle. What is meant? Miracle" is from the Latin verb mirari, to wonder at; and hence means, literally, an act or object causing wonder.

Upon the tyrant's throne, - the sepulcher,1-
And of the triumphs of his ghastly 2 foe
Makes his own nourishment.3 For he came forth.
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.

Retire, and in thy presence re-assure
My feeble virtue. Here its enemies,

There have been holy men who hid themselves Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave

Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived
The generation born with them, nor seemed
Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks
Around them; and there have been holy men
Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus.
But let me often to these solitudes

The passions, at thy plainer 5 footsteps shrink
And tremble, and are still. O God! when thou
Dost scare the world with tempests, set on fire
The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill
With all the waters of the firmament

The swift, dark whirlwind that uproots the woods And drowns the villages; when, at thy call,

1 sepulcher. With what noun | hood, bravery. This was deemed is this word in apposition? the loftiest of "virtues" by the Romans; but with Christianity the word assumed a new meaning, and received application to the

2 ghastly, from Anglo-Saxon gast, a ghost, and hence literally ghost-like.

3 makes his own nourishment. moral qualities. Illustrate.

5 plainer: that is, more visible

4 virtue. This word has an in-than in the turmoil of a city.

teresting origin, being derived from the Latin vir, a man; virtus, man

6 scare. Would fright be better? 7 tempests. See Glossary.

Uprises the great deep, and throws himself
Upon the continent, and overwhelms
Its cities, who forgets not, at the sight
Of these tremendous tokens of thy power,
His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by?
Oh! from these sterner aspects of thy face,
Spare me and mine: nor let us need the wrath
Of the mad, unchained elements, to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate
In these calm shades thy milder majesty,
And to the beautiful order of thy works
Learn to conform the order of our lives.

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[These lines were addressed by the poet to his wife, and tenderly voice his aspiration of a re-union with his companion in heaven.]

How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps2
The disembodied spirits of the dead,
When all of thee that time could wither3 sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread?

For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.


1 Uprises the great deep. The reference is to the "tidal waves that in some parts of the world bring terrible destruction.

2 sphere which keeps, etc.: that is, heaven.

8 all of thee.. wither. Ex-. plain.

Will not thy own meek heart demand me there,That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given? My name on earth was ever in thy prayer,

And wilt thou never utter it in heaven?

In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind,
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere,
And larger movements of the unfettered mind,
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?

The love1 that lived through all the stormy past,
And meekly with my harsher nature bore,
And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last,

Shall it expire with life, and be no more?

A happier lot than mine, and larger light,
Await thee there; for thou hast bowed thy will
In cheerful homage to the rule of right,

And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.

For me, the sordid 2 cares in which I dwell

Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll; And wrath has left its scar, that fire of hell

Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.

1 The love. Note the fine effect | scar," may be in part explained of this iteration of " the love" in by the fact, that, as editor of a the previous stanza. political paper (the New-York Evening Post), he was in an atmosphere which the finer spirit of the poet must have often loathed to breathe.

2 sordid (from Latin sordidus, dirty): vile, mean. The poet's allusions to the "sordid cares" and the wrath which "has left its

Yet, though thou wear'st the glory of the sky,
Wilt thou not keep the same belovéd name,
The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye,
Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same?

Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this, -
The wisdom which is love,1-till I become
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?


[In the following poem we have a fine specimen of Bryant's patriotic vein. The design of the piece is to set forth the grandeur of the country's theory and destiny, and to defend the United States against the sneers of foreign critics. At the time the poem was written (some thirty years ago), such taunts were common; but Bryant lived to see the fulfillment of the prophecy in his last stanza; for-slightly to alter the closing couplet,

"Before thine eye

Upon their lips the taunt did die."]

O MOTHER of a mighty race,2
Yet lovely in thy youthful grace!
The elder dames,3 thy haughty peers,
Admire and hate thy blooming years;
With words of shame

And taunts of scorn they join thy name.

1 The wisdom which is love: a beautifully suggestive expression.

2 mother, etc.: that is, the genius of the United States, America personified.

3 elder dames: the older nations of Europe.


peers. With what is this noun in apposition?

5 taunts.

See Glossary.

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