William Cullen Bryant, born in 1794, and living until 1878, was an American poet, journalist, and newspaper editor. He was born in a log cabin in Massachusetts and both of his parents could trace their families back to the Mayflower.
He is remembered for many things, and perhaps a mark of the esteem in which he was and is held, is that Martin Luther King quoted him when he said, “there is something in this universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying: ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.'”
He was known as a romantic poet, and here is a timely sonnet:
Aye, thou art welcome, heaven’s delicious breath!
When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And sons grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief,
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, ‘mid bowers and brooks,
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.