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.
 
III. The Seasons
The Story of a Summer Day
Alexander Hume (1560?–1609)
 
O PERFECT Light, which shaid away
  The darkness from the light,
And set a ruler o’er the day,
  Another o’er the night—
 
Thy glory, when the day forth flies,        5
  More vively doth appear,
Than at mid day unto our eyes
  The shining sun is clear.
 
The shadow of the earth anon
  Removes and drawis by,        10
While in the East, when it is gone,
  Appears a clearer sky.
 
Which soon perceive the little larks,
  The lapwing and the snipe,
And tune their songs, like Nature’s clerks,        15
  O’er meadow, muir, and stripe.
 
Our hemisphere is polisht clean,
  And lightened more and more;
While everything is clearly seen,
  Which seemit dim before;        20
 
Except the glistering astres bright,
  Which all the night were clear,
Offuskit with a greater light
  No longer do appear.
 
The golden globe incontinent        25
  Sets up his shining head,
And o’er the earth and firmament
  Displays his beams abread.
 
For joy the birds with boulden throats
  Against his visage sheen        30
Take up their kindly musick notes
  In woods and gardens green.
 
The dew upon the tender crops,
  Like pearlis white and round,
Or like to melted silver drops,        35
  Refreshis all the ground.
 
The misty reek, the clouds of rain
  From tops of mountains skails,
Clear are the highest hills and plain,
  The vapours take the vales.        40
 
The ample heaven, of fabrick sure,
  In cleanness does surpass
The crystal and the silver pure,
  Or clearest polisht glass.
 
The time so tranquil is and still,        45
  That nowhere shall ye find,
Save on a high and barren hill,
  An air of peeping wind.
 
All trees and simples, great and small,
  That balmy leaf do bear,        50
Than they were painted on a wall,
  No more they move or steir.
 
Calm is the deep and purple sea,
  Yea, smoother than the sand;
The waves, that weltering wont to be,        55
  Are stable like the land.
 
So silent is the cessile air,
  That every cry and call
The hills and dales and forest fair
  Again repeats them all.        60
 
The flourishes and fragrant flowers,
  Through Phœbus’ fostering heat,
Refreshed with dew and silver showers,
  Cast up an odour sweet.
 
The cloggit, busy humming bees,        65
  That never think to drone,
On flowers and flourishes of trees,
  Collect their liquor brown.
 
The Sun, most like a speedy post,
  With ardent course ascends;        70
The beauty of the heavenly host
  Up to our zenith tends.
 
Not guided by a Phaëton,
  Not trainèd in a chair,
But by the high and holy One,        75
  Who does allwhere empire.
 
The burning beams down from his face
  So fervently can beat,
That man and beast now seek a place
  To save them from the heat.        80
 
The herds beneath some leafy tree,
  Amidst the flowers they lie;
The stable ships upon the sea
  Tend up their sails to dry.
 
With gilded eyes and open wings,        85
  The cock his courage shows;
With claps of joy his breast he dings,
  And twenty times he crows.
 
The dove with whistling wings so blue,
  The winds can fast collect,        90
Her purple pens turn many a hue
  Against the sun direct.
 
Now noon is went; gone is midday,
  The heat does slake at last;
The sun descends down West away,        95
  For three of clock is past.
 
The rayons of the sun we see
  Diminish in their strength;
The shade of every tower and tree
  Extended is in length.        100
 
Great is the calm, for everywhere
  The wind is setting down,
The reek throws right up in the air
  From every tower and town.
 
The gloaming comes; the day is spent;        105
  The sun goes out of sight;
And painted is the Occident
  With purple sanguine bright.
 
The scarlet nor the golden thread,
  Who would their beauty try,        110
Are nothing like the color red
  And beauty of the sky.
 
Our west horizon circular,
  From time the sun be set,
Is all with rubies, as it were,        115
  Or roses red o’erfret.
 
What pleasure were to walk and see,
  Endlong a river clear,
The perfect form of every tree
  Within the deep appear.        120
 
O, then it were a seemly thing
  While all is still and calm,
The praise of God to play and sing
  With cornet and with shalm!
 
All labourers draw home at even,        125
  And can to other say,
Thanks to the gracious God of heaven,
  Which sent this summer day!
 
 
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