Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NEW AND THE OLD, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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THE NEW AND THE OLD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: New are the leaves on the oaken spray
Last Line: "chilling the blood, and frosting the brow."
Subject(s): Nature

NEW are the leaves on the oaken spray,
New the blades of the silky grass;
Flowers, that were buds but yesterday,
Peep from the ground where'er I pass.

These gay idlers, the butterflies,
Broke, to-day, from their winter shroud;
These light airs, that winnow the skies,
Blow, just born, from the soft, white cloud.

Gushing fresh in the little streams,
What a prattle the waters make!
Even the sun, with his tender beams,
Seems as young as the flowers they wake.

Children are wading, with cheerful cries,
In the shoals of the sparkling brook;
Laughing maidens, with soft, young eyes,
Walk or sit in the shady nook.

What am I doing, thus alone,
In the glory of Nature here,
Silver-haired, like a now-flake thrown
On the greens of the springing year?

Only for brows unploughed by care,
Eyes that glisten with hope and mirth,
Cheeks unwrinkled, and unblanched hair,
Shines this holiday of the earth.

Under the grass, with the clammy clay,
Lie in darkness the last year's flowers,
Born of a light that has passed away,
Dews long dried and forgotten showers.

"Under the grass is the fitting home,"
So they whisper, "for such as thou,
When the winter of life is come,
Chilling the blood, and frosting the brow."

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