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by William Cullen Bryant


I had a dream- a strangewild dream-

Said a dear voice at early light;

And even yet its shadows seem

To linger in my waking sight. -

Earthgreen with springand fresh with dew

And bright with mornbefore me stood;

And airs just wakened softly blew

On the young blossoms of the wood. -

Birds sang within the sprouting shade

Bees hummed amid the whispering grass

And children prattled as they played

Beside the rivulet's dimpling glass. -

Fast climbed the sun: the flowers were flown

There played no children in the glen;

For some were goneand some were grown

To blooming dames and bearded men. -

'Twas noon'twas summer: I beheld

Woods darkening in the flush of day

And that bright rivulet spread and swelled

A mighty streamwith creek and bay. -

And here was loveand there was strife

And mirthful shoutsand wrathful cries

And strong menstruggling as for life

With knotted limbs and angry eyes. -

Now stooped the sun- the shades grew thin;

The rustling paths were piled with leaves

And sunburnt groups were gathering in

From the shorn fieldits fruits and sheaves. -

The river heaved with sullen sounds;

The chilly wind was sad with moans;

Black hearses passedand burial-grounds

Grew thick with monumental stones. -

Still waned the day; the wind that chased

The jagged clouds blew chiller yet;

The woods were strippedthe fields were waste

The wintry sun was near his set. -

And of the youngand strongand fair

A lonely-remnantgray and weak

Lingeredand shivered to the air

Of that bleak shore and water bleak-

Ah! age is drearand death is cold!

I turned to theefor thou wert near

And saw thee witheredbowedand old

And woke all faint with sudden fear. -

'Twas thus I heard the dreamer say

And bade her clear her clouded brow;

"For thou and Isince childhood's day

Have walked in such a dream till now. -

"Watch we in calmnessas they rise

The changes of that rapid dream

And note its lessonstill our eyes

Shall open in the morning beam." - -