The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: alfred b. street

“A Common Scene” by Alfred B. Street

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John Frederick Kensett’s Summer Day on Consensus Lake

A Common Scene
Alfred B. Street
From The Poems of Alfred B. Street

The sky with silver throngs of sleeping clouds
Is spotted, and a harmony of hues
Azure and white, are there; a genial warmth
Burns in the sun glance; from that lowly vale
A smoke-wreath curls—a rustic chimney peeps
Through the thick foliage; in the furrowing field
The ploughman guides his team and whistles blithe;
Around the brink of that blue fairy lake
A laughing group of children stand to watch
That frail bark speeding with its tiny sail
Across the dimpling mirror; now it moors
Within yon knot of water-plants: from out
The tree that dances to the wind, a wren
Is warbling to its mate within a bush
The cattle lazily repose beneath
The meadow shade, or stoop to drink the rill
That freshens the green herbs. A summer scene
Common yet lovely.

From Alfred B. Street’s “The Walk and the Pic-nic”

From “The Walk and the Pic-nic
By Alfred B. Street
From The Poems of Alfred B. Street
Full poem here

…On this lap of green grass the white cloth is display’d,
A maple bends over its golden-streak’d shade;
We place cup and trencher—the viands are spread,
Whilst a pile of pine knots flame a pillar of red:
We slice the rich lemon, the gifts of the spring
Bubbling up in its cool sandy basin we bring,
The white glistening sugar, the butter, like gold
And the fruits of the garden, our baskets unfold,—
The raspberry bowl-shaped—the jet tiny cone
Of the blackberry, pluck’d from the thickets are strown:
All grace the grass-table—our cups mantle free
With the dark purple coffee, and light amber tea,
Wood, water, and bank, tongue the laugh and the jest,
And the goddess of mirth reigns supreme in each breast…

“Midsummer” by Alfred Billings Street

By Alfred Billings Street

An August day! a dreamy haze
Films air, and mingles with the skies,
Sweetly the rich dark sunshine plays,
Bronzing each object where it lies.
Outlines are melted in the gauze
That Nature veils; the fitful breeze
From the thick pine, low murmuring draws;
Then dies in flutterings midst the trees.
The bee is slumbering in the thistle,
And, now and then, a broken whistle
A tread—a hum—a tap—is heard
Through the dry leaves, in grass and bush,
As insect, animal, and bird
Rouse, brief from their lethargic hush.
Then, e’en these pleasant sounds would cease,
And a dead stillness all things lock,
The aspen seem like sculptured rock,
And not a tassel-thread be shaken
The monarch-pine’s deep trance to waken,
And Nature settle prone in drowsy peace.
The misty blue—the distant masses,
The air, in woven purple glimmering,
The shiver transiently that passes
Over the leaves, as though each tree
Gave one brief sigh—the slumberous shimmering
Of the red light—invested seem
With some sweet charm, that soft, serene,
Mellows the gold—the blue—the green
Into mild temper’d harmony,
And melts the sounds that intervene,
As scarce to break the quiet, till we deem
Nature herself transform’d to that of Fancy’s dream.

“Faith” by Alfred B. Street

Alfred B. Street
Found in The New-Yorker, July 4, 1840, Vol. IX, No. 16.

If that bright Faith, whose holy beam
The Future’s darkness turns to day,
Be but Delusion’s feverish dream,
Returning Reason sweeps away—
Oh, who could nerve against Despair!
Oh, who survive the loss of Bliss!
And, slave-like, still his burthen bear,
And toil on through a world like this?

Brow-furrowing Care, heart-breaking Grief,
The bitter tears that Anguish showers—
Oh, where from these is found relief—
Oh where, if that dark creed be ours?
Better at once to end our pain,
In the hushed grave our sorrows cast,
Than drag along Life’s galling chain,
And have no goal to reach at last.

But if that Faith which heavenward glows
Sheds in my heart its light sincere,
Then come, oh Earth! with all thy woes—
I care not for my sorrows here.
The soul within me cannot die;
‘T will soon from every pang be free;
Though chained by ‘mortal’ here, on high
‘T will dwell in ‘immortality.’

“A Winter Sunset” by Alfred B. Street

Yesterday was poet Alfred B. Street’s 206th birthday, so I figured nothing could be more appropriate than posting one of his poems. Please enjoy this short work of his, which explores the beauty of nature during wintertime. (From The Poems of Alfred B. Street)

A Winter Sunset
Alfred Billings Street

NATURE’S great eye, low beaming in the west
Pours sweetest light upon this mountain-road
Pleasant in Summer with delicious grass
And checker’d shadows from the bowery limbs:
But mantled now in snow that, beaten hard
Creaks to my footsteps. The green hemlock smiles
Speckled with gold; the oak’s sear foliage, still
Tight clinging to the boughs, is kindled up
To a rich brown, and on the carpet-snow
Glows a soft blush. At hand, a steep abyss
Lets down my eye upon the hollow. Pale
In its chill robe it lies, with dusky lines
Of crossing fences—groups of orchard-trees
And roofs, like dingy patches, scatter’d o’er.
But now the broad dilated sun has stoop’d
To the blue line of hills along the west.
Lower it falls, until a shred of light
Glitters, then sinks, and the red sky is bare.