Whither, 'midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue Thy solitary way? Vainly the fowler's eye Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As, darkly painted on the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along. Seek'st thou the plashy brink 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,-- 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, 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. 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, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright.
William Cullen Bryant - 1794-1878
A Song for New Year's Eve
Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay— Stay till the good old year, So long companion of our way, Shakes hands, and leaves us here. Oh stay, oh stay, One little hour, and then away. The year, whose hopes were high and strong, Has now no hopes to wake; Yet one hour more of jest and song For his familiar sake. Oh stay, oh stay, One mirthful hour, and then away. The kindly year, his liberal hands Have lavished all his store. And shall we turn from where he stands, Because he gives no more? Oh stay, oh stay, One grateful hour, and then away. Days brightly came and calmly went, While yet he was our guest; How cheerfully the week was spent! How sweet the seventh day's rest! Oh stay, oh stay, One golden hour, and then away. Dear friends were with us, some who sleep Beneath the coffin-lid: What pleasant memories we keep Of all they said and did! Oh stay, oh stay, One tender hour, and then away. Even while we sing, he smiles his last, And leaves our sphere behind. The good old year is with the past; Oh be the new as kind! Oh stay, oh stay, One parting strain, and then away.