Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DANTE, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

DANTE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Who, mid the grasses of the field
Last Line: Crowns the last century's closing year.
Subject(s): Dante Alighieri (1265-1321); Poetry & Poets

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.

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