Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun,
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadow bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
William Cullen Bryant was a New England romantic poet (and newspaper editor) who was born in 1794 in one of those proverbial American log cabins. Here he traces the year’s slow ebbing into winter, and the flowers and colour that hang on against the odds. There may be few gentians in the village, but, as I write this, there are still roses, antirrhinums, hollyhocks, and dahlias to be seen, waiting, as we all are, the coming of darker days and greater cold. As to how dark, and how cold, well, I have given up on forecasts, and will make the most of whatever comes.