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William Cullen Bryant

Difficulty, my brethren, is the nurse of greatness-a harsh nurse, who roughly rocks her foster-children into strength and athletic proportion.

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The Embargo

When private faith and public trust are sold,
And traitors barter liberty for gold;
When fell corruption, dark, and deep, like fate,
Saps the foundation of a sinking state;
Then warmer numbers glow through satire's page,
And all her smiles are darken'd into rage;
Then keener indignation fires her eye,
Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly!

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Upon the mountain's distant head

Upon the mountain's distant head,
With trackless snows for ever white,
Where all is still, and cold, and dead,
Late shines the day's departing light.

But far below those icy rocks,
The vales, in summer bloom arrayed,
Woods full of birds, and fields of flocks,
Are dim with mist and dark with shade.

'Tis thus, from warm and kindly hearts,
And eyes where generous meanings burn,
Earliest the light of life departs,
But lingers with the cold and stern.

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The Stream Of Life

Oh silvery streamlet of the fields,
That flowest full and free!
For thee the rains of spring return,
The summer dews for thee;
And when thy latest blossoms die
In autumn's chilly showers,
The winter fountains gush for thee,
Till May brings back the flowers.

Oh Stream of Life! the violet springs
But once beside thy bed;
But one brief summer, on thy path,
The dews of heaven are shed.
Thy parent fountains shrink away,
And close their crystal veins,
And where thy glittering current flowed
The dust alone remains.

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The Old Man's Funeral

Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,
His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky,
In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,
Sinks where his islands of departure spread
O'er the warm-colored heaven and ruddy mountain head.

Why weep ye then for him, who, having won
The bound of man's appointed years, at last.
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labors done,
Serenely to his final rest has passed;
While the soft memory of his virtues yet
Lingers like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set?

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Song From The Spanish Of Iglesias

Alexis calls me cruel;
The rifted crags that hold
The gathered ice of winter,
He says, are not more cold.

When even the very blossoms
Around the fountain's brim,
And forest walks, can witness
The love I bear to him.

I would that I could utter
My feelings without shame;
And tell him how I love him,
Nor wrong my virgin fame.

Alas! to seize the moment
When heart inclines to heart,
And press a suit with passion,
Is not a woman's part.

[...] Read more

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Song

Soon as the glazed and gleaming snow
Reflects the day-dawn cold and clear,
The hunter of the west must go
In depth of woods to seek the deer.

His rifle on his shoulder placed,
His stores of death arranged with skill,
His moccasins and snow-shoes laced,--
Why lingers he beside the hill?

Far, in the dim and doubtful light,
Where woody slopes a valley leave,
He sees what none but lover might,
The dwelling of his Genevieve.

And oft he turns his truant eye,
And pauses oft, and lingers near;
But when he marks the reddening sky,
He bounds away to hunt the deer.

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The Death of Abraham Lincoln

Oh, slow to smit and swift to spare,
Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
The sword of power, a nation's trust!

In sorrow by thy bier we stand,
Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
That shook with horror at thy fall.

Thy task is done; the bond of free;
We bear thee to an honored grave,
Whose proudest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.

Pure was thy life; its bloody close
Hath placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of Right.

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The Death of Lincoln

Oh, slow to smite and swift to spare,
Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
The sword of power, a nation's trust!

In sorrow by thy bier we stand,
Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
That shook with horror at thy fall.

Thy task is done; the bond of free;
We bear thee to an honored grave,
Whose proudest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.

Pure was thy life; its bloody close
Hath placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of Right.

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No Man Knoweth his Sepulchre

When he, who, from the scourge of wrong,
Aroused the Hebrew tribes to fly,
Saw the fair region, promised long,
And bowed him on the hills to die;

God made his grave, to men unknown,
Where Moab's rocks a vale infold,
And laid the aged seer alone
To slumber while the world grows old.

Thus still, whene'er the good and just
Close the dim eye on life and pain,
Heaven watches o'er their sleeping dust
Till the pure spirit comes again.

Though nameless, trampled, and forgot,
His servant's humble ashes lie,
Yet God has marked and sealed the spot,
To call its inmate to the sky.

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