Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
A Contrasted Picture
By John Rudolph Sutermeister
 
THE MORNING sun!—the morning sun!—
How o’er the earth his lustres move;—
When his first glance he throws upon
The bright, the glowing heaven above!—
The birds seek now each verdant spray—        5
Now glide, on light and joyous wing,
To pour on air their roundelay,—
To wake on high their carolling!
 
The soul of halcyon repose
Sleeps on the soft and silver air;        10
The zephyr’s breath is on the rose
And on the woodbine’s blossoms fair:—
The dew reflects the orient sun,
Whose magic tints to it are given;
O, man’s fond eye ne’er look’d upon        15
A fairer earth—a brighter heaven!
 
The morning sun—the morning sun!—
Joy wakes to view his glories spread,
When night hath chased the clouds of dun
Whose gloomy folds waved overhead:—        20
When Nature wakes from soft repose—
While sports young May in earth’s green bowers,
Joy wakes to breathe the fragrant rose—
The woodbine’s rich and matchless flowers:—
 
To dash, with foot-fall light, away        25
From the green sward, the dews of heaven;—
To list the wild-bird’s varied lay
While on the breeze their plumes are given:—
How blest is joy’s o’erflowing heart,
To bask beneath the golden dawn:—        30
To view the sun his light impart
To the bright flowers and dewy lawn!
 
The dying sun—the dying sun!—
How sink his languid rays to rest,
When twilight throws her shroud upon        35
The pale and melancholy west;
The rose that bloom’d in early May,
Droops now on its deserted stem;—
O’er its sere leaves and blighted spray
Pours the night-wind its requiem!        40
 
The birds, which sung, in summer’s light,
And danced on bright and purple wing,
Wake not the tuneless ear of night,—
Hush’d is their blithesome carolling!
Their rest is where their song hath been—        45
They sleep upon each fading flower
Ah! sorrow’s eye can show no scene
More welcome than pale twilight’s hour!
 
The dying sun—the dying sun!—
Oh, sorrow loves its failing light—        50
It breathes a kindred glow upon
The breast, wrapt in the gloom of night—
Pale sorrow loves the wither’d spray—
The flowers o’er which the blight hath past;—
These speak of raptures past away,—        55
Of cherish’d joys too bright to last!
 
What though the wild-bird’s loved retreat
Gives back no more their warblings dear;—
The strain of gladness is not meet
For sorrow’s lone and tuneless ear!—        60
Better to list the breeze of night
O’er each sere leaf and dying flower;—
Ah! earth can show no sadder sight
Than meets the eye at twilight hour!
 
 
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