The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: summer

“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.

“Midsummer” by Alfred Billings Street

Midsummer
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.

“Sonnet—Summer” by William Alexander

Sonnet—Summer
William Alexander
From Godey’s Lady’s Book, August 1849, pg. 101.

When sighing Summer softly holds her reign,
Attended by tranquility and peace;
The fields are yellow with the golden grain,
And fruitful Earth yields up her full increase—
Now purple Morning, soon, awakes to see
The reaper haste on labor’s early way;
Mild Evening gilds with lingering light each tree;
While weary warblers sing their parting lay—
Yet, though all nature fills me with delight,
I think—how strange that Spring should disappear;
That summer pleasures, too, but reach their height;
And Autumn’s fading mornings “dim” the year—
How calm, how cloudless, hath now pass’d away
Our childhood’s happy summer holiday.

“Summer Evening Lightning” by Carlos Wilcox

Summer Evening Lightning
Carlos Wilcox
From The Poets and Poetry of America, ed. Rufus W. Griswold’s, pg. 148

Far off and low
In the horizon, from a sultry cloud,
Where sleeps in embryo the midnight storm,
The silent lightning gleams in fitful sheets,
Illumine the solid mass, revealing thus
Its darker fragments, and its ragged verge;
Or if the bolder fancy so conceive
Of its fantastic forms, revealing thus
Its gloomy caverns, rugged sides and tops
With beetling cliffs grotesque. But not so bright
The distant flashes gleam as to efface
The windows image, on the floor impress’d
By the dim crescent; or outshines the light
Cast from the room upon the trees hard by,
If haply, to illume a moonless night,
The lighted taper shine; though lit in vain,
To waste away unused, and from abroad
Distinctly through the open window seen,
Lone, pale, and still as a sepulchral lamp.

“A Dream of Summer” by John Greenleaf Whittier

Although I might normally agree that Whittier’s delightful poem also has me looking forward to the splendid days of summer, I, alas, cannot. Upon moving to the South, I’ve found the Autumn and Winter seasons to be a delight, and the summers to consequently be miserable. Perhaps my dear readers will find greater solace in Whittier’s words—goodness knows he may have needed them himself. Because Whittier was born in Massachusetts, it is without a doubt he endured the bitter, biting, bleak, and blustery New England winters, as is also suggested in this poem—to which I say sit Deus custodiat te and manere calidum, dear Whittier!

A Dream of Summer
John Greenleaf Whittier

4th 1st month, 1847.
BLAND as the morning breath of June
The south-west breezes play;
And, through its haze, the winter noon
Seems warm as summer’s day.
The snow-plumed Angel of the North
Has dropped his icy spear;
Again the mossy earth looks forth,
Again the streams gush clear.

The fox his hillside cell forsakes,
The muskrat leaves his nook,
The bluebird in the meadow brakes
Is singing with the brook.
“Bear up, oh mother Nature!” cry
Bird, breeze, and streamlet free;
“Our winter voices prophesy
Of summer days to thee!”

So, in those winters of the soul,
By bitter blasts and drear
O’erswept from Memory’s frozen pole,
Will sunny days appear.
Reviving Hope and Faith, they show
The soul its living powers,
And how beneath the winter’s snow
Lie germs of summer flowers!

The Night is mother of the Day,
The Winter of the Spring,
And ever upon old Decay
The greenest mosses cling.
Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all His works,
Has left His Hope with all!