William Cullen Bryant.

A new library of poetry and song, Volume 2 online

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It touches the pool beyond the froth.
A-sudden, the speckled hawk of the brook
Darts from his covert and seizes the hook.
Swift spins the reel ; with easy slip
The line pays out, and the rod, like a whip.
Lithe and arrowy, tapering, slim,
Is bent to a bow o'er the brooklet's brim.
Till the trout leaps up in the sun, and flings
The spray from the flash of his finny wings ;
Then falls on his side, and, drunken with fright^

Is towed to the shore like a staggering bai^

Till beached at last on the sandy mai*ge,
Where he dies with the hues of the morning light,
While his sides with a cluster of stars are bright.
The angler in his basket lays
The constellation, and goes his ways.

Thomas Buchanan Read.



How many a time have I
Cloven, with arm still lustier, breast more daring.
The wave all roughened ; with a swimmer's stroke
Flinging the billows back from my drenched hair.
And laughing from my lip the audacious brine,
Which kissed it like a wine-cup, rising o'er
The waves as they arose, and prouder still
The loftier they uplifted me ; and oft.
In wantonness of spirit, plunging down
Into their green and glassy gulfs, and making
My way to shells and sea-weed, all unseen
By those above, till they waxed fearfql ; then
Returning with my grasp full of such tokens
As showed that I had searched the deep ; exulting,
With a far-dashing stroke, and drawing deep
The long-suspended breath, again I spumed
The foam which broke around me, and pursued
My track like a sea-bird. — I was a boy then.

Lord Byron.

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Along the frozen lake she comes
In linking crescents, light and fleet ;

The ice-iniprisoned Undine hums
A welcome to her little leet

f hat, the plume

Ike in the joyous gale, —

up to burning bloom,

yes sparkling through the veiL

th parts her laughing lips,
ick shines through tossing curls ;
[itly sways and dips,
eeds in shell-like whirls.

imile to see her go ;
iiey smile in pleased surprise ;
ame ; they long to show
'hendship in their eyes.

^ ; she passes on ;
otfall quicker rings ;
; the benison
V8 her on noiseless wings.

ways, secure her tread
vious lines of life,
grace successive led, —
len, nobler wife !



Jingle, jingle, clear the way,
'T is the merry, merry sleigh I
As it swiftly scuds along,
Hear the burst of happy song ;
See the gleam of glances bright,
Flashing o'er the pathway white I
Jingle, jingle, past it flies.
Sending shafts from hooded eyes, —
Boguish archers, I '11 be bound.
Little heeding whom they wound ;
See them, with capricious pranks,
Plowing now the drifted banks ;
Jingle, jingle, mid the glee
Who among them cares for me ?
Jingle, jingle, on they go.
Capes and bonnets white with snow,
Not a single robe they fold
To protect them from the cold ;
Jingle, jingle, mid the storm.
Fun and frolic keep them warm ;
Jingle, jingle, down the hills.
O'er the meadows, past the mills,
Now 't is slow, and: now 't is fast ;
Winter will not always List.
Jingle, jingle, clear the way I
*T is the merry, merry sleigh.



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[The ruinous castle of Norham (nnciently called Ubbanford) is
situated on the M>uthem bank of the Tweed, about six miles above
Berwick, and where that river is still the boundary between Eng-
land and Scotland. The extent of its ni ns, as well as its historical
bnportance, shows it to have been a place of magnificence as well
as strength. Edward I. resided there when he was created umpire
of the dispute concerning the Scottish succession. It was repeat*
edly taken and retaken during the wars between England and
Scotland, and, indeed, scarce any happened in which it had not
a principal share. Norham Castle is situated on a steep bank,
which overhangs the river. The ruins of the castle arc at present
considerable, as well as picturesque. They consist of a large
shattered tower, with many vaults, and fragments of other edifices,
inclosed within an outward wall of great circuit.]

Day set on Norham's castled steep,
And Tweed's fair river, bi*oad and deep,

And Cheviot's mountains lone :
The battled towers, the donjon keep.
The loop-hole grates where captives weep,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,

In yellow luster shone.
The warriors on the turrets high.
Moving athwart the evening sky,

Seemed forms of giant height ;
Their armor, as it caught the rays,
Flashed back again the western blaze

In lines of dazzling light

St George's banner, broad and gay.
Now faded, as the fading ray

Less bright, and less, was flung ;
The evening gale had scarce the power
To wave it on the donjon tower.

So heavily it hung.
The scouts had parted on their search.

The castle gates were barred ;
Above the gloomy portal arch.
Timing his footsteps to a march.

The warder kept his guard ;
Low humming, as he paced along.
Some ancient Border-gathering song.

A distant trampling sound he hears ;
He looks abroad, and soon appears.
O'er Homcliff' hill, a plump of spears.

Beneath a pennon gay ;
A horseman, darting from the crowd.
Like lightning from a summer cloud.
Spurs on his mettled courser proud

Before the dark array.

Beneath the sable palisade.
That closed the castle barricade.

His bugle-horn he blew ;
The warder hasted from the wall.
And warned the captain in the hall.

For well the blast he knew ;
And joyfully that knight did call
To sewer, squire, and seneschaL

** Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie, '

Bring ])asties of the doe.
And quickly make the entrance free.
And bid my heralds ready be.
And every minstrel sound his glee.

And all oui* trumpets blow ;
And, from the platform, spare ye not
To fire a noble salvo-shot :

Lord Mannion waits below."
Then to the castle's lower ward

Sped forty yeomen tall,
The iron-studded gates unbarred,
Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard.
The lofty palisade unsparred.

And let the drawbridge falL

Along the bridge Lord Mannion rode.
Proudly his red-roan chai*ger trode,
His helm hung at the saddle-bow ;
Well by his visage you might know
He was a stalworth knight, and keen.
And had in many a battle been.
The scar on his brown cheek revealed
A token true of Bosworth field ;
His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire,
Showed spirit proud, and prompt to ire ;
Yet lines of thought upon his cheek
Did deep design and counsel speak.
His forehead, by his casque worn bare.
His thick mustache, and curly hair,
Coal-black, and grizzled here and there.

But more through toil than age ;
His square-turned joints, and strength of limb,
Showed him no carpet-knight so trim.
But in close fight a champion grim.

In camps a leader sage.

"Well was he armed from head to heel.
In mail and plate of Milan steel ;
But his strong helm, of mighty cost.
Was all with burnished gold embossed ;

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Amid the plumage of the crest,

A falcon hovered on her nest.

With wings outspread, and forward breast ;

E'en such a fklcoo, on his shield.

Soared sable in aa azure field :

The golden legend bore aright,

8Z3lf)0 djrcfu( at me to Heati) ts tui^ijt.

Blue was the charger's broidered rein ;

Blue ribbons decked his arching mane ;

The knightly housing's ample fold

Was velvet blue, and trapped with gold.

Behind him rode two gallant squires
Of noble name and knightly sires ;
They burned tlie gilded spurs to claim ;
For well could each a war-horse tame.
Could draw the bow, the swoi-d could sway,
And lightly bear the ring away ;
Nor less with courteous pi-ecepts stored,
Could dance in hall, and carve at board,
And frame love-ditties passing i-are.
And sing them to a lady fair.

Four men-at-arms came at their backs.
With balbert, bill, and battle-ax ;
They bore Lord Marmion's lance so strong.
And led his sumpter-mules along,
And ambling palfrey, when at need
Him listed ease his battle-steed.
The last and trustiest of the four
On high his forky pennon bore ;
Like swallow's tail, in shape and hue,
Fluttered the streamer glossy blue.
Where, blazoned sable, as before.
The towering falcon seemed to soar.
Last, twenty yeomen, two and two,
In hosen black, and jerkins blue.
With falcons broidered on each breast,
Attended on their lord's behest :
Each, chosen for an archer good,
Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood ;
Each one a six-foot bow could bend.
And far a cloth -yard shaft could send ;
Eaoh held a boar-spear tough and strong,
And at their belts their quivers rung.
Their dusty palfreys and array
Showed they had marched a weary way.

Sir Walter Scott.



If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moonlight ;

For the gay beams of lightsome day

Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.

When the liroken arches are black in night,

And each shafted oriel glinuners white ;

When the cold light's uncertain shower

Streams on the ruined central tower ;

When buttress and buttress, alternately,

Seem framed of ebon and ivory ;

When silver edges the imagery.

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die ;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,

And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,

Then go, — but go alone the while, —

Then view St. David's ruined pile ;

And, home returning, soothly swear,

Was never scene so sad and fair !

The pillared arches were over their head.

And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.

Spreading herbs and flowerets bright
Glistened with the dew of night ;
Nor herb nor floweret glistened there.
But was carved in the cloister-arches as fair.
The monk gazed long on the lovely moon.

Then into the night he lookM forth ;
And red and bright the streamers light
Were dancing in the glowing north.

He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,
That spirits were riding the northern light

By a steel-clenched postern door,

They entered now the chancel tall ;
The darkened roof rose high aloof

On pillars lofty and light and small ;
The keystone, that locked each ribbfed aisle,
Was a fleur-de-lis, or a quatre-feuille :
The corbells were carved grotesque and grim ;
And the pillars, with clustered shafts so trim.
With base and with capital flourished around.
Seemed bundles of lances which garlands had

Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven.
Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven.

Around the screenM altar's pale ;
And there the dying lamps did burn.
Before thy low and lonely um,
gallant chief of Otterbume !

And thine, dark Knight of Liddesdale I
fading honors of the dead I
high ambition, lowly laid !

The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone,

By foliaged tracery combined ;
Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand
'Twixt poplars straight tie osier wand

In many a freakish knot had twined ;
Then framed a spell, when the work was done.
And changed the willow wreaths to stone.
The silver light, so pale and faint,

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Showed many a pro}>het, and many a saint,
Whose image on the glass was dyed ;

Full in the midst, his Cross of Red

Triumphant Michael brandishM,
And trampled the Apostate's pride.

The moonbeam kissed the holy pane,

And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
Sir Walter scott.


Alone and sad I sat me down

To rest on Rousseau's narrow Isle,

Below Geneva. Mile on mile,

And set with many a shining town,

Toward Dent du Midi danced the wave

Beneath the moon. Winds went and came.

And fanned the stars into a flame.

I heard the far lake, dark and deep.

Rise up and talk as in its sleep.

1 heard the laughing waters lave

And lap against the farther shore.

An idle oar, and nothing more

Save that the Isle had voice, and save

That round about its base of stone

There plashed and flashed the foamy Rhone.

A stately man, as black as tan,
Kept up a stem and broken round
Among the strangers on the ground.
I named that awful African
A second Hannibal. I gat
My elbows on the table, sat
With chin in upturned palm to scan
His face, and contemplate the scene.
The moon rode by, a crownkl queen.
I was alone. Lo I not a man
To speak my mother-tongue. Ah me !
How moi-e than all alone can be
A man in crowds ! Across the Isle
My Hannibal strode on. The while
Diminished Rousseau sat his throne
Of books, unnoticed and unknown.

This strange, strong man with face austere
At last drew near. He bowed ; he spake
In unknown tongues. I could but shake
My head. Then, half a-chill with fear,
I rose, and sought' another place.
Again I mused. The kings of thought
Came by, and on that storied spot
I lifted up a tearftd face.

The star-set Alps they sang a rune
Unheard by any soul but mine.
Mont Blanc, as lone and as divine
And white, seemed mated to the moon.

The past was mine, strong- voiced and vast :
Stem Calvin, strange Voltaire, and Tell,
And two whose names are known too well
To name, in grand pix>cession passed.

And yet again came Hannibal,

King-like he came, and drawing near,

I saw his brow was now severe

And resolute. In tongues unknown

Again he spake. I was alone.

Was all unarmed, was wom and sad ;

But now, at last, my spirit had

Its old assertion. I arose.

As startled from a dull repose.

With gathered strength I raised a hand,

And cried, ** I do not understand."

His black face brightened as I spake ;
He bowed ; he wagged his woolly head ;
He showed his shining teeth, and said,
" Sar, if you please, dose tables here
Are consecrate to lager-beer ;
And, Sar, what will you have to take ? "

Not that I loved that colored cuss, —

Nay ! he had awed me all too much, —

But I sprang forth, and with a clutch

I grasped his hand, and holding thus.

Cried, ** Bring my country's drink for two ! "

For 0, that speech of Saxon sound

To me was as a fountain found

In wastes, and thrilled me through and through.

On Rousseau's Isle, in Rousseau's shade.
Two pink and spicy drinks were made ;
In classic shade, on classic ground,
We stirred two cocktails round and round.

Joaquin Miller.


Home of the Percy's high-bom race.

Home of their beautiful and brave.
Alike their birth and burial place.

Their cradle and their grave 1
Still sternly o'er the castle gate
Their house's Lion stands in state.

As in his proud departed hours ;
And warriors frown in stone on high,
And feudal banners " flout the sky "

Above his princely towers.

A gentle hill its side inclines.
Lovely in England's fadeless green.

To meet the quiet stream which winds
Through this romantic scene

As silently and sweetly still

As when, at evening, on that hill,



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While sumTuer's wind blew soft and low,
Seated by gallant Hotspur's side,
His Katherine was a happy bride,

A thousand years ago.

I wandered through the lofty halls

Trod by the Percys of old fame,
And traced upon the chapel walls

£ach high, heroic name,
From him who once his standard set
Where now, o'er mosque and minaret,

Glitter the Sultan's crescent moons.
To him who, when a younger son,
Fought for King George at Lexington,

A m^jor of dragoons.

That last half-stanza, — it has dashed

From my warm lip the sparkling cup ;
The light that o'er my eyebeam flashed.

The power that bore my spirit up
Above this bank-note world, is gone ;
And Alnwick 's but a market town.
And this, alas I its market day.
And beasts and borderers throng the way ;
Oxen and bleating lambs in lots,
Noi-thumbrian boors and plaided Scots,

Men in the coal and cattle line ;
From Teviot's bard and hero land,
From royal Berwick's beach of sand,
From Wooller, Morpeth, Hexham, and


These are not the romantic times
So beautiful in Spenser's rhymes.

So dazzling to the dreaming boy ;
Ours are the days of fact, not fable.
Of knights, but not of the round table,

Of Bailie Jarvie, not Rob Roy ;
*T is what ** Our President," Monroe,

Has called ** the era of good feeling ** ;
The Highlander, the bitterest foe
To modem laws, has felt their blow,
Consented to be taxed, and vote.
And put on pantaloons and coat,

And leave off cattle-stealing :
Lord Stafford mines for coal and salt,
The Duke of Norfolk deals in malt,

The Douglas in red herrings ;
And noble name and cultured land,
Palace, and park, and vassal band.
Are powerless to the notes of hand

Of Rothschild or the Barings.

The age of bargaining, said Burke,
Has come : to-day the turbaned Turk
(Sleep, Richard of the lion heart 1
Sleep on, nor from your cerements start)
Is England's friend and fast ally ;

The Moslem tramples on the Greek,

And on the Cross and altar-stone.

And Christendom looks tamely on.
And hears the Christian maiden shriek,

And sees the Christian father die ;
And not a saber-blow is given .
For Greece and fame, for faith and heaven.

By Europe's craven chivalry.

You '11 ask if yet the Percy lives

In the armed pomp of feudal state.
The pi-esent representatives

Of Hotspur and his ** gentle Kate,"
Are some half-dozen serving-men
In the drab coat of William Penn ;

A chambermaid, whose lip and eye.
And cheek, and brown hair, bright and curling,

Spoke nature's aristocracy ;
And one, half groom, half seneschal.
Who bowed me through court, bower, and hall,
From donjon keep to turret wall.

For ten-and-sixpence sterling.




Earth has not anything to show more fair ;
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty :
This city now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare.
Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie
Oi>en unto the fields, and to the sky.
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor valley, rock, or hill ;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep !
The river glideth at his own sweet will.
Dear God ! the very houses seem asleep ;
And all that mighty heart is lying still !

William Wordsworth.


In the valley of the Pegniiz, where across broad

Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg,

the ancient, stands.

Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old

town of art and song.
Memories haunt thy pointed gables like the rooks

that round them throng :

* # ^

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Memories of tlie Middle Ages, wheu the emper-
ors rough aud bold

Had their dwellings in thy castle, time-defying,
centuries old ;

And thy brave and thrifty bui^hers boasted, in

their uncouth rhyme,
That their great, imperial city stretched its hand

to eyery dime.

In the courtyard of the castle, bound with many

an iron band,
Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen

Cunigunde's hand ;

On the square, the oriel window, where in old

heroic days
Sat the poet Melchior, singing Kaiser Maximilian's


Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous
world of art ;

Fountains wrought with richest sculpture stand-
ing in the common mart ;

And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops

carved in stone.
By a former age commissioned as apostles to our


In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined

his holy dust.
And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from

age to age their trust :

In the church of sainted LAwrence stands a pix

of sculpture rare,
Like the foamy^ sheaf of fountains, rising through

the painted air.

Here, when art was still religion, with a simple
reverent heart.

Lived and labored Albrecht Diirer, the Evange-
list of Art ;

Hence in silence and in sorrow, tolling still with

busy hand,
Like an emigrant he wandered, seeking for the

Better Land.

Efnigravit is the inscription on the tombstone

where he lies,
Dead he is not — but departed — for the artist

never dies :

Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine

seems more fair
That he once has trod its pavement, that he

once has breathed its air.

Through these streets so broad aud stately, these

obscure and dismal lanes.
Walked of yoi-e the Alastersingcrs, chanting rude

poetic strains ;

From remote and sunless suburbs came they to

the friendly guild,
Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in

spouts the swallows build.

As the weaver plied the shuttle wove he too the

mystic rhyme.
And the smith his iron measures hammered to

the anvil's chime^

Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes

the flowers of poesy bloom
In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of

the loom.

Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of

the gentle craft.
Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, in huge

folios sang and laughed.

But his house is now an alehouse, with a nicely

sanded floor.
And a garland in the window, and his face above

tho door,

Painted by some humble artist, as in Adam

Puschman's song.
As the old man gray and dovelike, with his

great beard white and long.

And at night the swart mechanic comes to drown
his cark and care.

Quaffing ale from pewter tankards, in the mas-
ter's antique chair.

Vanished is the ancient splendor, and before my

dreamy eye
Wave these mingling shapes and figures, like a

faded tapestry.

Not thy Ck)uncils, not thy Kaisers, win for thee

the world's regard,
But thy painter, Albrecht Diirer, and Hans

Sachs, thy cobbler-bard.

Thus, Nuremberg, a wanderer from a region

far away,
As he paced thy streets and courtyards, sang in

thought his careless lay ;

Gathering from the pavement's crevice, as a

floweret of the soil.
The nobility of labor, — the long pedigree of toil.
Hbnrv w. Longfellow.


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Italy, how beautiful thou art I
Yet I could weep, — for thou art lying, alas !
Low in the dust ; and they who come admire

thee *•

As we admire the beautiful in death.
Thine was a dangerous gift, the gift of beauty.
Would thou hadst less, or wert as once thou wast,
Inspiring awe in those who now enslave thee !
But why despair ? Twice hast thou lived already.
Twice shone among the nations of the world,
As the sun shines among the lesser lights
Of heaven ; and shalt again. The hour shall

When they who think to bind the ethereal spirit,
Who, like the eagle cowering o'er his prey,
Watch with quick eye, and strike and strike again
If but a sinew vibrate, shall confess
Their wisdom folly.

Samuel Rogers.



The calm swan rested on the breathless glass
Of dreamy waters, and the snow-white steer

Near the opposing margin, motionless.
Stood, knee-deep, gazing wistful on its clear

And lifelike shadow, shimmering deep and far.

Where on the luiid darkness fell the star.

Near them, upon its lichen -tinted base.
Gleamed one of those fair-fancied images

Which art hath lost, — no god of Idan race,
But the winged symbol which by Caspian

Or Susa's groves, its parable addrest

To the wild faith of Iran's Zendavest

Liglit as the soul, whose archetype it was.
The Genius touched, yet spurned, the pedestal ;

Behind, the foliage in its purjile mass

Shut out the flushed horizon ; circling all.

Nature's hushed giants stood, to guard and girth

The only home of peace upon the earth.




There is a glorious City in the Sea.
The Sea is in the broad, the narrow streets,
Ebbing and flowing ; and the salt sea-weed
Clings to the marble of her palaces.

No track of men, no footsteps to and fro.

Lead to her gates. The path lies o'er the Sea,

Invisible ; and from the land we went,

As to a floating City, — steering in,

And gliding up her streets as in a dream,

So smoothly, silently, — by many a dome

Mosque-like, and many a stately portico.

The statues ranged along an azure sky ;

Hy many a pile in more than £astem splendor,

Of old the residence of merchant kings ;

The fronts of some, though Time had shattered

Still glowing with the richest hues of art.
As though the wealth within them had run o'er.

. . . . A few in fear,
Fljing away from him whose boast it was
That the grass grew not where his horse liad

Gave birth to Venice. Like the waterfowl.
They built their nests among the ocean waves ;

Online LibraryWilliam Cullen BryantA new library of poetry and song, Volume 2 → online text (page 29 of 81)