“Oh Fairest of the Rural Maids”

By William Cullen Bryant 1794–1878
Oh fairest of the rural maids!
Thy birth was in the forest shades;
Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky,
Were all that met thine infant eye.
 
Thy sports, thy wanderings, when a child,
Were even in the sylvan wild;
And all the beauty of the place
Is in thy heart and on thy face.
 
The twilight of the trees and rocks
Is in the light shade of thy locks;
Thy step is as the wind, that weaves
Its playful way among the leaves.
 
Thine eyes are springs, in whose serene
And silent waters heaven is seen;
Their lashes are the herbs that look
On their young figures in the brook.
 
The forest depths, by foot unpressed,
Are not more sinless than thy breast;
The holy peace, that fills the air
Of those calm solitudes, is there.

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Poet William Cullen Bryant 1794–1878

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Nature, Social Commentaries, Town & Country Life

Poetic Terms Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

 William Cullen Bryant

Biography

No line of his poetry survives in the consciousness of his nation, and none of his editorial pronouncements still resonates from his five decades with the New-York Evening Post, yet William Cullen Bryant stood among the most celebrated figures in the frieze of nineteenth-century America. The fame he won as a poet while in his youth remained with him as he entered his eighties; only Longfellow and Emerson were his rivals in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Nature, Social Commentaries, Town & Country Life

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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