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- Seek'st thou the plashy brink 10 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,-
15 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,
20 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.

25 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,
30 Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone
Will lead my steps aright.

HELPS TO STUDY.

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.

Words and Phrases for Discussion

“thy solitary way.” “rosy depths’’ ‘‘thin atmosphere” “the fowler's eye” “long way” ‘‘welcome land’’

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“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”

THE SKYLARK
JAMES HOGG

Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
5 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.
10 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,
15 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,
20 Low in the heather blooms,
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love bel

HELPS TO STUDY.

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: “wilderness,” “moor,” “lea,” “fell,” ‘‘heather-bloom”?

What is the ‘‘red streamer that heralds the day”?

What does the word “dewy” suggest as to the habits of the bird?

What do “matin” and “gloaming” 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 musical?

Indicate the rhythm of the first six lines by writing them in groups

as shown in the following curves:

_-_->

Bird of the

wil-der-ness

10

15

25

TO A SKYLARK
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
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
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost float and run;
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
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
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
The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflowed.

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What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
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
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
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its aérial hue
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
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
Joyous and clear and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, Sprite or Bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine;

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