Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MAY EVENING, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT



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MAY EVENING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The breath of spring-time at this twilight hour
Last Line: For the return of day.
Subject(s): Spring


THE breath of Spring-time at this twilight hour
Comes through the gathering glooms,
And bears the stolen sweets of many a flower
Into my silent rooms.

Where hast thou wandered, gentle gale, to find
The perfumes thou dost bring?
By brooks, that through the wakening meadows wind,
Or brink of rushy spring?

Or woodside, where, in little companies,
The early wild-flowers rise,
Or sheltered lawn, where, mid encircling trees,
May's warmest sunshine lies?

Now sleeps the humming-bird, that, in the sun,
Wandered from bloom to bloom;
Now, too, the weary bee, his day's work done,
Rests in his waxen room.

Now every hovering insect to his place
Beneath the leaves hath flown;
And, through the long night hours, the flowery race
Are left to thee alone.

O'er the pale blossoms of the sassafras
And o'er the spice-bush spray,
Among the opening buds, thy breathings pass,
And come embalmed away.

Yet there is sadness in thy soft caress,
Wind of the blooming year!
The gentle presence, that was wont to bless
Thy coming, is not here.

Go, then; and yet I bid thee not repair,
Thy gathered sweets to shed,
Where pine and willow, in the evening air,
Sigh o'er the buried dead.

Pass on to homes where cheerful voices sound,
And cheerful looks are cast,
And where thou wakest, in thine airy round,
No sorrow of the past.

Refresh the languid student pausing o'er
The learned page apart,
And he shall turn to con his task once more
With an encouraged heart.

Bear thou a promise, from the fragrant sward,
To him who tills the land,
Of springing harvests that shall yet reward
The labors of his hand.

And whisper, everywhere, that Earth renews
Her beautiful array,
Amid the darkness and the gathering dews,
For the return of day.





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