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To a Waterfowl

Written by: William Cullen Bryant | Biography
 | Quotes (29) |
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 5 
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong  
As darkly seen against the crimson sky  
Thy figure floats along. 

Seek'st thou the plashy brink 
Of weedy lake or marge of river wide 10 
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¡ª 
The desert and illimitable air¡ª 15 
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. 20 

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 25 
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 30 
In the long way that I must tread alone  
Will lead my steps aright.