Beautiful cloud! with folds so soft and fair, Swimming in the pure quiet air! Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below Thy shadow o`er the vale moves slow; Where, midst their labour, pause the reaper train As cool it comes along the grain. Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee In thy calm way o`er land and sea: To rest on thy unrolling skirts, and look On Earth as on an open book; On streams that tie her realms with silver bands, And the long ways that seam her lands; And hear her humming cities, and the sound Of the great ocean breaking round. Ay--I would sail upon thy air-borne car To blooming regions distant far, To where the sun of Andalusia shines On his own olive-groves and vines, Or the soft lights of Italy`s bright sky In smiles upon her ruins lie. But I would woo the winds to let us rest O`er Greece long fettered and oppressed, Whose sons at length have heard the call that comes From the old battle-fields and tombs, And risen, and drawn the sword, and on the foe Have dealt the swift and desperate blow, And the Othman power is cloven, and the stroke Has touched its chains, and they are broke. Ay, we would linger till the sunset there Should come, to purple all the air, And thou reflect upon the sacred ground The ruddy radiance streaming round. Bright meteor! for the summer noontide made! Thy peerless beauty yet shall fade. The sun, that fills with light each glistening fold, Shall set, and leave thee dark and cold: The blast shall rend thy skirts, or thou may`st frown In the dark heaven when storms come down, And weep in rain, till man`s inquiring eye Miss thee, forever from the sky.
- by William Cullen Bryant (1794 - 1878), "To a cloud", from Poems, first published 1832 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by Cecil Burleigh (1885 - 1980), "To a cloud", op. 49 no. 2, published 1919. [voice, piano] [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2005-03-15
Line count: 40
Word count: 299