The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: nature

“Morning” by Thomas Dunn English

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A Gorge in the Mountains (Kauterskill Clove) by Sanford Robinson Gifford

Morning.
By Thomas Dunn English
From The Casket Vol. 16, 1840, pg. 151

Morn on the placid landscape. Nature woke,
And from her long night’s slumber proudly broke.
Gazed, smiling gazed on mountain, and on dale,
And tossed unto the skies her misty veil.
The sun was there to glad the morning’s birth,
And empty living fire upon the earth.
The deer stole slily from his hiding-place.
Basked in the beams, nor panted for the chase.
The squirrel leaped from rock to rock in pride;
The rabbit pattered up the mountain side;
While mingled with the wild-bee’s hum was heard
The whirring of the gaudy humming-bird;—
That painted insect of the feathered tribe,
Whom all can wonder at, but none describe,—
The red-head woodpecker with steady stroke,
Commenced his labor on the hollow oak;
The feathered choir with rapture-swelling throats,
Began in concert their melodious notes;
While from the low-growth, where it deep lay hid,
Came the shrill clarion of the katy did.
In deep delight creation seemed to swim,
And pour thanksgiving in their matin hymn.

“Thoughts In Autumn” by Anna Peyre Dinnies

 

 

Thoughts In Autumn
Anna Peyre Dinnies
From the Poets and Poetry of America by Rufus Griswold, 1842, pg. 385.

Yes, thou art welcome, Autumn! all thy changes,
From fitful gloom, to sunny skies serene,
The starry vaults, o’er which the charm’d eye ranges,
And cold, clear moonlight, touching every scene
With a peculiar sadness, are sweet things,
To which my heart congenial fondly clings.

There is a moral in the wither’d wreaths
And faded garlands that adorn thy bowers;
Each blighted shrub, chill’d flower, or sear’d leaf breathes
Of parted days, and brighter by-gone hours,
Contracting with the present dreary scene
Spring’s budding beauties, pleasures which have been.

“Life: An Allegory” by James Gates Percival

Here we have a sampling of Percival’s prose work! Feel free to comment below if you have thoughts on what his allegory might be. Mum’s the word on my own analysis. I’ll just leave it here for your pleasure and contemplation.

Life: An Allegory
James Gates Percival
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 7, January, 1836, pg. 48.

IT is now morning. Still and glassy lies the lake, within its green and dew-sprent shores. Light mist hangs around, like a skiëy veil, and only reveals the uncertain outlines of woods and hills. The warm vernal air is just stirring in the valleys, but has not yet ruffled the water’s mirror. Turns the eye upward, the misty vault opens into the calm, clear heavens, over which there seems suffused a genial spirit’s breath. Far distant on the horizon flash out the gilded and reddening peaks, and from yonder crown of snow, a sudden radiance announces the risen sun. Now in the east stream the golden rays through the soft blue vapor. The breeze freshens, and comes loaded with fragrance from the woods. A faint, dark curl sweeps over the water; the mist rolls up, lifts itself above meadow and hill, and in gathered folds hangs light around the mountains. Away on the level lake, till it meets the sky, silvery gleams the sheeted wave, sprinkled with changeful stars, as the ever-rising breeze breaks it in ripples. Now the pennon, that hung loose around the mast, rises and fitfully floats. We spread the sail, and casting off from the shore, glide out with cheerful hearts on our voyage. Before us widens the lake; rock after rock receding back on either hand, and opening between, still bays, hung round with sparkling woods, or leading through green meadow vistas to blue sunny hills.

——

IT is now noon. In the middle lake speeds the bark over light glancing waves. Dark opens down the clear depth. White toss the crests of foam, and as the sail stoops to the steady wind, swift flies the parted water round the prow, and rushing pours behind the stern. The distant shores glow bright in the sun, that alone in the heaven looks unveiled with vivifying goodness over the earth. How high and broad swells the sky! The agitated lake tosses like a wide field of snowy blossoms. Sweep after sweep of the long-retiring shores; hill gleaming over hill, up to the shadowy mountains; and over these, Alpine needles, shooting pearly white into the boundless azure—all lie still and happy under the ever-smiling sun.

——

AND now it is evening. The sun is sinking behind the dark mountains, and clouds scattered far in the east, float soft in rosy light. The sun is now hidden, and strong and wide sweeps up its golden flame, like the holy blaze of a funeral pile. The breeze slackens, the waves subside in slumber, and slowly the bark steers into its sheltering bay. Long shadows stretch from hill to valley, fall like dark curtains on the lake, and a solemn, subdued serenity broods, like a protecting spirit, over the hushed and quiet earth. Only the far summits yet retain their brightness. Faint blushes stain the eternal snows, recalling the first dawning roses, like the memory of early joys in the tranquil moments of departing age. These, too, fade; but the evening star looks bright from the blue infinite, and like the herald of a better world, leads us softly to our haven.

“The Land of the Blest” by James Gates Percival

The Land of the Blest.
By James Gates Percival
From Poems by James Gates Percival, pp. 368-370.

THE sunset is calm on the face of the deep,
And bright is the last look of day in the west,
And broadly the beams of its parting glance sweep,
Like the path that conducts to the land of the blest:
All golden and green is the sea, as it flows
In billows just heaving its tide to the shore;
And crimson and blue is the sky, as it glows
With the colors which tell us that daylight is o’er.

I sit on a rock that hangs over the wave,
And the foam heaves and tosses its snow-wreaths below,
And the flakes, gilt with sunbeams, the flowing tide pave,
Like the gems that in gardens of sorcery grow:
I sit on the rock, and I watch the light fade
Still fainter and fainter away in the west,
And I dream I can catch, through the mantle of shade,
A glimpse of the dim, distant land of the blest.

And I long for home in that land of the soul,
Where hearts always warm glow with friendship and love,
And days ever cloudless still cheerily roll,
Like the age of eternity blazing above:
There, with friendships unbroken, and loves ever true,
Life flows on, one gay dream of pleasure and rest;
And green is the fresh turf, the sky purely blue,
That mantle and arch o’er the land of the blest.

The last line of light is now crossing the sea,
And the first star is lighting its lamp in the sky;
It seems that a sweet voice is calling to me,
Like a bird on that pathway of brightness to fly:
“Far over the wave is a green sunny isle,
Where the last cloud of evening now shines in the west;
‘Tis the island that Spring ever woos with her smile;
O, seek it,—the bright, happy land of the blest!”

“The Rain” from the Knickerbocker

The Rain.
By “OUTIS”
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 49, 1857, pg. 292.

DUSTY lies the village turnpike and the upland fields are dry,
While the farmer’s lumbering wagon moaning shrilly creaketh by;
Hush! from out the dark clouds drifting tenderest rain-drops faintly fall,
While the birds with gladsome music blend their vesper hymnings all,
With the tinkling and the sprinkling
Of the gentle summer rain.

Pouring on the gorgeous-tinted, golden-tinted Autumn leaves,
Sweeping o’er the waving grain-fields and the farmer’s standing sheaves;
Bounding down the hill-side streamlets, tumbling turbulent with glee,
Whose sad heart shall not be gladdened, though it murmur as the sea,
At the clattering and the pattering
Of the jovial autumn rain.

Loud and gusty blows the cold wind and the freezing rain pours down,
Whizzing round in blinding torrents all the passers in the town;
Out into the gloom and darkness many cheery home-fires glisten,
While my heart weaves quaintest fancies, pausing in its dreams to listen
To the roaring and the pouring
Of the noisy winter rain.

July 25, ’56.