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The Crowded Street

Written by: William Cullen Bryant | Biography
 | Quotes (29) |
LET me move slowly through the street  
Filled with an ever-shifting train  
Amid the sound of steps that beat 
The murmuring walks like autumn rain. 

How fast the flitting figures come! 5 
The mild the fierce the stony face; 
Some bright with thoughtless smiles and some 
Where secret tears have left their trace. 

They pass¡ªto toil to strife to rest; 
To halls in which the feast is spread; 10 
To chambers where the funeral guest 
In silence sits beside the dead. 

And some to happy homes repair  
Where children pressing cheek to cheek  
With mute caresses shall declare 15 
The tenderness they cannot speak. 

And some who walk in calmness here  
Shall shudder as they reach the door 
Where one who made their dwelling dear  
Its flower its light is seen no more. 20 

Youth with pale cheek and slender frame  
And dreams of greatness in thine eye! 
Go'st thou to build an early name  
Or early in the task to die? 

Keen son of trade with eager brow! 25 
Who is now fluttering in thy snare? 
Thy golden fortunes tower they now  
Or melt the glittering spires in air? 

Who of this crowd to-night shall tread 
The dance till daylight gleam again? 30 
Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead? 
Who writhe in throes of mortal pain? 

Some famine-struck shall think how long 
The cold dark hours how slow the light; 
And some who flaunt amid the throng 35 
Shall hide in dens of shame to-night. 

Each where his tasks or pleasures call  
They pass and heed each other not. 
There is who heeds who holds them all  
In His large love and boundless thought. 40 

These struggling tides of life that seem 
In wayward aimless course to tend  
Are eddies of the mighty stream 
That rolls to its appointed end.