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Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink

On the chafed ocean-side ?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,-
The desert and illimitable air,-

Lone wandering, but not lost.


All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,

Though the dark night is near.


And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend

Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.


Thou’rt gone; the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,

And shall not soon depart.


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.


Biographical and Historical: William Cullen Bryant was born in 1794 in Western Massachusetts. His education was carried on in the district school. At home he had the use of an exceptionally fine library, for that period, and he made the most of its opportunities. In 1816 he secured a license to practice law, and journeyed on foot to Plainfield, Mass., to look for a place to open an office. He felt forlorn and desolate, and the world seemed big and cold. In this mood, while pausing on his way to contemplate the beauty of the sunset, he saw a solitary bird wing its way along the horizon. He watched it until it was lost in the distance. Then he pursued his journey with new courage and on arriving at the place where he was to stop for the night, he sat down and wrote this beautiful poem of faith and hope.

Notes and Questions What lines tell you the time of tiful picture? day!

What does the poet learn from the Which stanza do you like best? waterfowl Why!

Note that the rhythm gives the What lines give you the most beau- impression of the bird's flight.

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Words and Phrases for Discussion thy solitary wayrosy depths' "thin atmosphere's "the fowler's eye' “long way" "welcome land” so that toil shall end" "tread alone" “boundless sky'' “last steps of day” "certain flight” “lone wandering but not lost" "chafed ocean-side" "pathless coast” “the abyss of heaven hath swallowed up thy form”





Bird of the wilderness,

Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!

Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling place, -
O to abide in the desert with thee!

Wild is thy lay and loud,

Far in the downy cloud,
Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.

Where on thy dewy wing,

Where art thou journeying?
Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth,



O'er fell and fountain sheen,

O’er moor and mountain green,
O’er the red streamer that heralds the day,

Over the cloudlet dim,

Over the rainbow's rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!

Then, when the gloaming comes,

Low in the heather blooms,
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!



James Hogg was born in Ettrick, Scotland, in 1770, and was known as “the Ettrick Shepherd,” because he followed the occupation of a shepherd until he was thirty. The beautiful selection here given was doubtless inspired by the poet's early communion with Nature.

Notes and Questions

From this poem what can you tell

of the home of the skylark? Of

its nature? Why is the lark called an emblem

of happiness? Name something that might be called an emblem

of strength; of sorrow. What pictures do the following words make to you: “wildermoor, ""lea,.

fell,” "heather-bloom"g

What is the "red streamer that

heralds the day'ıq What does the word “dewy” sug

gest as to the habits of the bird ? What do "matin” and “gloam

ing'' signify! In the poem what tells you the

nest is near the ground! Why is “downy' used to describe

"cloud'' What makes lines 13 and 14 so



Indicate the rhythm of the first six lines by writing them in groups as shown in the following curves:

Bird of the




Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!

Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,

Pourest thy full heart
5 In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher

From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;

The blue deep thou wingest
10 And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightning,

Thou dost float and run;
15 Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,

In the broad daylight
20 Thou art unseen,—but yet I hear thy shrill delight,

Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear
25 Until we hardly see—we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when Night is bare,

From one lonely cloud 30 The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflowed. What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see
35 As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a Poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden

Till the world is wrought
40 To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour
45 With music sweet as love,—which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue 50 Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view :

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,

Till the scent it gives 55 Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-winged thieves :

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was
60 Joyous and clear and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, Sprite or Bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine;

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