Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Murdered Traveller
By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)
 
WHEN spring to woods and wastes around,
  Brought bloom and joy again,
The murder’d traveller’s bones were found,
  Far down a narrow glen.
 
The fragrant birch, above him, hung        5
  Her tassels in the sky;
And many a vernal blossom sprung,
  And nodded, careless, by.
 
The red-bird warbled, as he wrought
  His hanging nest o’erhead,        10
And fearless near the fatal spot,
  Her young the partridge led.
 
But there was weeping far away,
  And gentle eyes, for him,
With watching many an anxious day,        15
  Grew sorrowful and dim.
 
They little knew, who loved him so,
  The fearful death he met,
When shouting o’er the desert snow,
  Unarm’d, and hard beset;—        20
 
Nor how, when round the frosty pole
  The northern dawn was red,
The mountain wolf and wild-cat stole
  To banquet on the dead;—
 
Nor how, when strangers found his bones,        25
  They dress’d the hasty bier,
And mark’d his grave with nameless stones,
  Unmoisten’d by a tear.
 
But long they look’d, and fear’d, and wept,
  Within his distant home;        30
And dream’d, and started as they slept,
  For joy that he was come.
 
So long they look’d—but never spied
  His welcome step again,
Nor knew the fearful death he died        35
  Far down that narrow glen.
 
 
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