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by William Cullen Bryant


Who, mid the grasses of the field

That spring beneath our careless feet,

First found the shining stems that yield

The grains of life-sustaining wheat: -

Who first, upon the furrowed land,

Strewed the bright grains to sprout, and grow,

And ripen for the reaper's hand-

We know not, and we cannot know. -

But well we know the hand that brought

And scattered, far as sight can reach,

The seeds of free and living thought

On the broad field of modern speech. -

Mid the white hills that round us lie,

We cherish that Great Sower's fame,

And, as we pile the sheaves on high,

With awe we utter Dante's name. -

Six centuries, since the poet's birth,

Have come and flitted o'er our sphere:

The richest harvest reaped on earth

Crowns the last century's closing year. - -