The following is a poem from the 1820s by the great Southern poet and novelist William Gilmore Simms. It appears on pages 8 and 9 in Selected Poems of William Gilmore Simms, edited by James Everett Kibler.
Oh! sweet among these spreading trees,
In noon-day’s fervor to recline,
Whilst arching in the cooling breeze,
We watch the distant wavering vine.
And at our feet the rippling stream,
In gentle murmurs glides along,
Free from the sun’s oppressive beam
We listen to the Mocker’s song.
And nought disturbs the gentle lay,
Save thro’ the pine-tops bending round,
The amorous wind pursues its way,
Scattering their leaves upon the ground;
Whilst far removed from noise or care,
Where man has scarcely ever come,
Borne swiftly on the drowsy ear,
We hark the noisy bee-tree’s hum.
Oh! thus remote from worldly strife,
Without the toil that crowds await,
How sweet to rove the vale of life,
Unchanged by love, unharm’d by hate.
Where no extreme of joy or ill
Can urge or clog the steps of youth;
Where all of life, the wild and still,
But bears the impress stamp of truth.
Swift as the red-deer could my feet,
Compass the wastes that now divide
Thy form from mine, my more than sweet!
How soon I’d clasp thee to my side!
Here would we wing the fleeting hours -
Here taste each joy the heart can see -
Thou finding, at each step, but flow’rs,
And I, a fairer flow’r in thee!
Also see: Sonnet to the Past