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Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood

Written by: William Cullen Bryant | Biography
 | Quotes (29) |
 Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs 
No school of long experience, that the world 
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen 
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares, 
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood 
And view the haunts of nature. The calm shade 
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze 
That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm 
To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here 
Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men, 
And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse 
Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth, 
But not in vengance. God hath yoked to guilt 
Her pale tormentor, Misery. Hence these shades 
Are still the abode of gladness; the thick roof 
Of green and stirring branches is alive 
And musical with birds, that sing and sport 
In wantonness of spirit; while below 
The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect, 
Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade 
Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam. 
That waked them into life. Even the green trees 
Partake the deep contentment; as they bend 
To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky 
Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene. 
Scarce less the cleft-born wildflower seems to enjoy 
Existence, than the winged plunderer 
That sucks its sweets. The mossy rocks themselves, 
And the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees 
That lead from knoll to knoll a causeway rude, 
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots, 
With all their roots upon them, twisting high, 
Breathe fixed tranquility. The rivulet 
Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed 
Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks 
Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice 
In its own being. Softly tread the marge, 
Lest from her midway perch thou scare the wren 
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind, 
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee, 
Like one that loves thee nor will let thee pass 
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.



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