To the Fringed Gentian

Wm. Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

from Bryant, William Cullen. Poems. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1847.


THOU blossom bright with autumn dew,
    And coloured with the heaven's own blue,
    That openest when the quiet light
    Succeeds the keen and frosty night.

    Thou comest not when violets lean
    O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
    Or columbines, in purple dressed,
    Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.

    Thou waitest late and com'st alone,
    When woods are bare and birds are flown,
    And frosts and shortening days portend
    The aged year is near his end.

    Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
    Look through its fringes to the sky,
    Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall
    A flower from its cerulean wall.

    I would that thus, when I shall see
    The hour of death draw near to me,
    Hope, blossoming within my heart,
    May look to heaven as I depart.