THE CROWDED STREET
by William Cullen Bryant
THE CROWDED STREET -
Let me move slowly through the street
Filled with an ever-shifting train
Amid the sound of steps that beat
The murmuring walks like autumn rain. -
How fast the flitting figures come!
The mildthe fiercethe stony face;
Some bright with thoughtless smilesand some
Where secret tears have left their trace. -
They pass- to toilto strifeto rest;
To halls in which the feast is spread;
To chambers where the funeral guest
In silence sits beside the dead. -
And some to happy homes repair
Where childrenpressing cheek to cheek
With mute caresses shall declare
The tenderness they cannot speak. -
And somewho walk in calmness here
Shall shudder as they reach the door
Where one who made their dwelling dear
Its flowerits lightis seen no more. -
Youthwith pale cheek and slender frame
And dreams of greatness in thine eye!
Go'st thou to build an early name
Or early in the task to die? -
Keen son of tradewith eager brow!
Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
Thy golden fortunestower they now
Or melt the glittering spires in air? -
Who of this crowd to-night shall tread
The dance till daylight gleam again?
Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead?
Who writhe in throes of mortal pain? -
Somefamine-struckshall think how long
The colddark hourshow slow the light;
And somewho flaunt amid the throng
Shall hide in dens of shame to-night. -
Eachwhere his tasks or pleasures call
They passand heed each other not.
There is who heedswho holds them all
In His large love and boundless thought. -
These struggling tides of life that seem
In waywardaimless course to tend
Are eddies of the mighty stream
That rolls to its appointed end. -