William Cullen Bryant
Whither, midst falling dew
While glow the heaven
s with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Vainly the fowler
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly seen against the crimson
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy
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
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.