A Presentiment by William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant

‘Oh father, let us hence–for hark,
A fearful murmur shakes the air.
The clouds are coming swift and dark:–
What horrid shapes they wear!
A winged giant sails the sky;
Oh father, father, let us fly!’

‘Hush, child; it is a grateful sound,
That beating of the summer shower;
Here, where the boughs hang close around,
We’ll pass a pleasant hour,
Till the fresh wind, that brings the rain,
Has swept the broad heaven clear again.’

‘Nay, father, let us haste–for see,
That horrid thing with horned brow,–
His wings o’erhang this very tree,
He scowls upon us now;
His huge black arm is lifted high;
Oh father, father, let us fly!’

‘Hush, child;’ but, as the father spoke,
Downward the livid firebolt came,
Close to his ear the thunder broke,
And, blasted by the flame,
The child lay dead; while dark and still,
Swept the grim cloud along the hill

Date: 1851
Poet: William Cullen Bryant
Movement: Romantic
American
1794 – 1878

William Cullen Bryant was a poet, journalist and editor of the New York Evening Post. His family genealogy can be traced to passengers on The Mayflower. His poetry is thoughtful and meditative in character and he is considered one of the leading American poets of the Romantic era.

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