Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
IV. Inland Waters: Highlands
The Valley Brook
John Howard Bryant (1807–1902)
 
FRESH from the fountains of the wood
  A rivulet of the valley came,
And glided on for many a rood,
  Flushed with the morning’s ruddy flame.
 
The air was fresh and soft and sweet;        5
  The slopes in spring’s new verdure lay,
And wet with dew-drops at my feet
  Bloomed the young violets of May.
 
No sound of busy life was heard
  Amid those pastures lone and still,        10
Save the faint chirp of early bird,
  Or bleat of flocks along the hill.
 
I traced that rivulet’s winding way;
  New scenes of beauty opened round,
Where meads of brighter verdure lay,        15
  And lovelier blossoms tinged the ground.
 
“Ah, happy valley stream!” I said,
  “Calm glides thy wave amid the flowers,
Whose fragrance round thy path is shed
  Through all the joyous summer hours.        20
 
“O, could my years, like thine, be passed
  In some remote and silent glen,
Where I could dwell and sleep at last,
  Far from the bustling haunts of men!”
 
But what new echoes greet my ear?        25
  The village school-boy’s merry call;
And mid the village hum I hear
  The murmur of the waterfall.
 
I looked; the widening veil betrayed
  A pool that shone like burnished steel,        30
Where that bright valley stream was stayed
  To turn the miller’s ponderous wheel.
 
Ah! why should I, I thought with shame,
  Sigh for a life of solitude,
When even this stream without a name        35
  Is laboring for the common good.
 
No longer let me shun my part
  Amid the busy scenes of life,
But with a warm and generous heart
  Press onward in the glorious strife.        40
 
 
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