The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
the spring of 1804, when I was ten years old, I composed a
little poem, the subject of which was the description of the
school, and which I declaimed on the schoolroom floor. It
was afterward printed in the & quot; Hampshire Gazette, & quot; the county
newspaper published at Northampton. Meantime I wrote
various lampoons on my schoolfellows and others, and when
the great eclipse of the sun took place, in June, 1806, I cele
brated the event in verse. I remember being told about this
time that my father had said, & quot; He will be ashamed of his
verses when he is grown up. & quot; I could not then see why.*
* As many readers will, doubtless, be amused by this childish effort at the de
scription of a great natural phenomenon, I append it :
& quot; How awfully sublime and grand to see,
The lamp of Day wrap ed in Obscurity.
To see the sun remove behind the moon,
And nightly darkness shroud the day at noon ;
The birds no longer feel his genial ray,
But cease to sing and sit upon the spray.
A solemn gloom and stillness spreads around,
Reigns in the air and broods o er all the ground.
Once-smiling Nature wears another face,
The blooming meadow loses half its grace.
All things are silent save the chilling breeze,
That in low whispers rustles through the trees.
The stars break forth and stud the azure sky,
And larger planets meet the wondering eye.
Now busy man leaves off his toil to gaze,
And some are struck with horror and amaze,
Others of noble feelings more refin d
Serenely view it with a tranquil mind.
See God s bright image strikingly portrayed
In each appearance which his power had made.
(Fixed in their hearts cool Meditation sate,
With uprais d eye and thoughtful look sedate.)
Now burst the Sun from silence and from night,
Though few his beams, they shed a welcome light ;
And Nature s choir, enlivened by his rays,
Harmonious warble their Creator s praise.
The shades of darkness feel his potent ray,
Mine eye pursue them as they flee away ;