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The Hunter Of The Prairies Post by :henryc Category :Poems Author :William Cullen Bryant Date :January 2011 Read :1937

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The Hunter Of The Prairies

Ay, this is freedom!--these pure skies
Were never stained with village smoke:
The fragrant wind, that through them flies,
Is breathed from wastes by plough unbroke.
Here, with my rifle and my steed,
And her who left the world for me,
I plant me, where the red deer feed
In the green desert--and am free.

For here the fair savannas know
No barriers in the bloomy grass;
Wherever breeze of heaven may blow,
Or beam of heaven may glance, I pass.
In pastures, measureless as air,
The bison is my noble game;
The bounding elk, whose antlers tear
The branches, falls before my aim.

Mine are the river-fowl that scream
From the long stripe of waving sedge;
The bear that marks my weapon's gleam,
Hides vainly in the forest's edge;
In vain the she-wolf stands at bay;
The brinded catamount, that lies
High in the boughs to watch his prey,
Even in the act of springing, dies.

With what free growth the elm and plane
Fling their huge arms across my way,
Gray, old, and cumbered with a train
Of vines, as huge, and old, and gray!
Free stray the lucid streams, and find
No taint in these fresh lawns and shades;
Free spring the flowers that scent the wind
Where never scythe has swept the glades.

Alone the Fire, when frost-winds sere
The heavy herbage of the ground,
Gathers his annual harvest here,
With roaring like the battle's sound,
And hurrying flames that sweep the plain,
And smoke-streams gushing up the sky:
I meet the flames with flames again,
And at my door they cower and die.

Here, from dim woods, the aged past
Speaks solemnly; and I behold
The boundless future in the vast
And lonely river, seaward rolled.
Who feeds its founts with rain and dew;
Who moves, I ask, its gliding mass,
And trains the bordering vines, whose blue
Bright clusters tempt me as I pass?

Broad are these streams--my steed obeys,
Plunges, and bears me through the tide.
Wide are these woods--I thread the maze
Of giant stems, nor ask a guide.
I hunt till day's last glimmer dies
O'er woody vale and grassy height;
And kind the voice and glad the eyes
That welcome my return at night.



_The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye._

The prairies of the West, with an undulating surface, _rolling prairies_, as they are called, present to the unaccustomed eye a singular spectacle when the shadows of the clouds are passing rapidly over them. The face of the ground seems to fluctuate and toss like the billows of the sea.

_The prairie-hawk that, poised on high,
Flaps his broad wings, yet moves not._

I have seen the prairie-hawk balancing himself in the air for hours together, apparently over the same spot; probably watching his prey.

_These ample fields
Nourished their harvests._

The size and extent of the mounds in the valley of the Mississippi, indicate the existence, at a remote period, of a nation at once populous and laborious, and therefore probably subsisting by agriculture.

_The rude conquerors
Seated the captive with their chiefs._

Instances are not wanting of generosity like this among the North American Indians towards a captive or survivor of a hostile tribe on which the greatest cruelties had been exercised.)

(The end)
William Cullen Bryant's poem: Hunter Of The Prairies

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Seventy-six Seventy-six

What heroes from the woodland sprung, When, through the fresh awakened land,The thrilling cry of freedom rung,And to the work of warfare strung The yeoman's iron hand!Hills flung the cry to hills around, And ocean-mart replied to mart,And streams whose springs were yet unfound,Pealed far away the startling sound Into the forest's heart.Then marched the brave from rocky steep, From mountain river swift and cold;The borders of the stormy deep,The vales where gathered waters sleep,Sent up the strong and bold,--As if the very earth again Grew quick with God's creating breath,And, from the sods of grove and glen,Rose ranks of lion-hearted

The Knight's Epitaph The Knight's Epitaph

The Knight's Epitaph
This is the church which Pisa, great and free,Reared to St. Catharine. How the time-stained walls,That earthquakes shook not from their poise, appearTo shiver in the deep and voluble tonesRolled from the organ! Underneath my feetThere lies the lid of a sepulchral vault.The image of an armed knight is gravenUpon it, clad in perfect panoply--Cuishes, and greaves, and cuirass, with barred helm,Gauntleted hand, and sword, and blazoned shield.Around, in Gothic characters, worn dimBy feet of worshippers, are traced his name,And birth, and death, and words of eulogy.Why should I pore upon them? This old tomb,This effigy, the strange disused formOf this