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Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down 25
Upon the naked earth, and, forthwith, rose
All these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun,
Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze,
And shot toward heaven. The century-living crow
Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died
Among their branches, till, at last, they stood,
As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark,

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Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold
Communion with his Maker. These dim vaults,
These winding aisles, of human pomp or pride
Report not.

No fantastic carvings show
The boast of our vain race to change the form
Of thy fair works. But thou art here - thou fill'st
The solitude. Thou art in the winds
That run along the summit of these trees
In music; thou art in the cooler breath
That from the inmost darkness of the place
Comes, scarcely felt; the barky trunks, the ground,

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The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee.
Here is continual worship; - Nature, here,
In the tranquillity that thou dost love,
Enjoys thy presence. Noiselessly, around,
From perch to perch, the solitary bird
Passes; and yon clear spring, that, midst its herbs,
Wells softly forth and wandering steeps the roots
Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale
Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left
Thyself without a witness, in the shades,
Of thy perfections. Grandeur, strength, and grace
Are here to speak of thee. This mighty oak
By whose immovable stem I stand and seem
Almost annihilated — not a prince,
In all that proud old world beyond the deep,
E’er wore his crown as loftily as he
Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root
Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare
Of the broad sun.

That delicate forest flower,
With scented breath and look so like a smile,
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mold,
An emanation of the indwelling Life,
A visible token of the upholding Love,
That are the soul of this great universe.

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My heart is awed within me when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on,
In silence, round me — the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed
Forever. Written on thy works I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Lo! all grow old and die — but see again,

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How on the faltering footsteps of decay
Youth presses — ever gay and beautiful youth
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly that their ancestors
Molder beneath them. Oh, there is not lost
One of earth's charms : upon her bosom yet,
After the fight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate
Of his arch-enemy Death — yea, seats himself
Upon the tyrant's throne -- the sepulcher,
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.

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There have been holy men who hid themselves
Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave
Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived
The generation born with them, nor seemed
Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks
Around them; - and there have been holy men

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Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus.
But let me often to these solitudes
Retire, and in thy presence reassure
My feeble virtue. Here its enemies,
The passions, at thy plainer footsteps shrink
And tremble and are still. O God! when thou
Dost scare the world with tempests, set on fire
The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill,
With all the waters of the firmament,
The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods
And drowns the villages ; when, at thy call,
Uprises the great deep and throws himself

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Upon the continent, and overwhelms
Its cities — who forgets not, at the sight
Of these tremendous tokens of thy power,
His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by ?
Oh, from these sterner aspects of thy face
Spare me and mine, nor let us need the wrath
Of the mad unchained elements to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate,
In these calm shades, thy milder majesty,
And to the beautiful order of thy works
Learn to conform the order of our lives.

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WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

I. GENERAL EXERCISES

1. How does the title of this poem indicate the character of the thought in the poem ? What is the great truth, or philosophic thought, in the poem? What is the “moral” of the poem? What lines give the statement of the moral thought? Do they seem to you as poetic as the last stanza of “ The Chambered Nautilus”?

2. How many divisions has the poem? State the principal thought of each section.

3. Why has the poem no story? Is there any personal element in the poem, aside from the feeling of the author himself? Is this

poem as interesting to you as “ The Ancient Mariner” or “ Michael”? Is it as impressive? “If so, what makes it so ?

4. What has this poem added to your thoughts of the relation of man to Nature and to God?

5. Is there very much description in the poem? Are there many figurative expressions? What is the general character, or mood, of the poem ?

II. SPECIAL EXERCISES

1. Give an illustration of the truth of this line. 1-5. What work of man is suggested by these lines? 2. What is meant here by

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6 shaft” ? architravc. The first statement (lines 1–3) refers to what style of architecture ? ditto, the second statement (lines 3–5) ? 8. supplication. What is the main statement in this second sentence? Why man's simple” heart? 9. What is the force of the word “ influence”? 10. Note the poetic word “stilly”; are such words still considered good usage in poetry? Make a list of similar words in this poem.

Does twilight” have its usual meaning here? 13. What was “the invisible breath”? Of what is it a symbol ? 14. What is the subject of “stole ”? 16. inaccessible ; majesty. Be careful in reading this sentence to have the whole thought in mind, so that you may be able to express with your voice the relation of the different clauses and phrases to the main thought of the sentence and to each other. 17. What is meant by “ the world's riper years ” ? 18. sanctuaries. How do people adore " among the crowd”? 20. What contrast is suggested by the word “frail” ? 21. What fine distinction of thought is expressed by the word “shadow”? What is the relation of this last sentence to the preceding question ? to the first sentence ?

24. What are meant by “venerable columns ”? What contrast is implied ? 25. In what sense did God weave the “ verdant roof”? 26. Read Genesis i. 9–12. 29. Is “shot” an appropriate word? 33. shrine.

Communion,' compare the opening lines of Bryant's “ Thanatopsis.” What are the “dim vaults” and “winding aisles”? 35. pomp. Where do we find human pomp and pride in connection with worship? 36. fantastic. 37. vain. How does man change the form of Nature's works? Should he do so

- or not? 38. Explain “ Thou fill’st the solitude.” 44. What part of speech is “instinct”? How pronounced ? Meaning? In what sense are the trees and the ground instinct with God? 45. Where is there not " continual worship”? Why not? May there be continual worship in all places and at all times? 46. tranquillity. 47. What relationship between God and Nature is implied by the word “enjoys”? What do you think of this sentiment? 50. Wells ; steeps. 51. What is the lesson for mankind in the thought, “ tells no tale of all the good it does? 57. annihilated. 60. coronal. 57–61. Why is the old world“ proud”? 63. With what is the flower in contrast ? 64. Explain the figure here. 65. What is the “shapeless mold”? What expressions are the complement of “seems”? 66. Why is “Life” written with a capital letter ? 67. What is “ the upholding Love”?

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