WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was the first great poet in this country. He was a small man. When he was a baby, his head was too big for his body. His father used to send the baby to be dipped in a cold spring every day. The father thought that putting his head into cold water would keep it from growing.
Bryant knew his letters before he was a year and a half old. He began to write rhymes when he was a very little fellow. He wanted to be a poet. He used to pray that he might be a poet. His father printed some verses of his when he was only ten years old.
Bry-ant wrote many fine poems. Here are some lines of his about the
bird we call a
"Robert of Lincoln is gayly dressed,
Wearing a bright black wedding coat,
White are his shoulders and white his crest.
Hear him call in his merry note:
Spink, spank, spink;
Look, what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
Chee, chee, chee."
"Are you a man, or an angel?" she asked him.
He had to do his writing with a machine. This machine was made for the
use of the blind. There were no
It was hard work to write
When Prescott had finished his book, he was
afraid to print it. But
his father said, "The man who writes a book, and is afraid to print
it, is a
Then Prescott printed his book. Everybody praised it. When you are
older, you will like to read his
Doctor Holmes, the poet, was a boy full of fancies. He lived in an old house. Soldiers had staid in the house at the time of the Revolution. The floor of one room was all battered by the butts of the soldiers' muskets.
The little boy was afraid of a sign that hung over the sidewalk. It
was a great, big, wooden hand. It was the sign of a place where gloves
were made. This big hand swung in the air. Little
But the big wooden hand never caught him.
Here are some verses that Doctor Holmes wrote about a very old
"My grand-mam-ma has
Poor old lady, she is dead
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.
"But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff;
And a crook is in his back,
And a mel-an-chol-y crack
In his laugh.
"I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cor-nered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!
"And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old for-sak-en bough
Where I cling."