Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
II. Midsummer
By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)
A POWER is on the earth and in the air,
  From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid,
  And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade,
From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.
Look forth upon the earth,—her thousand plants        5
  Are smitten; even the dark sun-loving maize
  Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze;
The herd beside the shaded fountain pants;
For life is driven from all the landscape brown;
  The bird hath sought his tree, the snake his den,        10
  The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men
Drop by the sun-stroke in the populous town:
  As if the Day of Fire had dawned, and sent
  Its deadly breath into the firmament.

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