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William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant(17941878)

Life experience:
born : Cummington, Mass. he was first trained in Greek and Latin In 1810, sophomore class at Williams College Never attended Yale In 1811, studied law. However, never practicing it. In 1821, married.

In 1825: New York and worked as an editor. In his seventies: translated Homer. In 1878: died

Bryant’s Grave

? Died on July 12,1878

His major works:
Thanatopsis (1817)

To a Waterfowl (1815)
The Ages (1821)

The Fountain (1842)
The White-Footed Deer (1844) A Forest Hymn (1860) The Flood of Years (1878)

Main version:
Iliad (1870) <伊利亚特>

Odyssey (1872) <奥德赛>

These translations crowned his career and made him even more popular.

To a Waterfowl 致水鸟
by William Cullen Bryant

Arnold “the most perfect brief poem in the language”

In the rain

Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
At the close of day

Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?


你要往何方,夜四周的露珠儿正缓降 西落的晚霞还余最后一抹金光 远远的,你穿过玫瑰色天幕的中央, 是在追逐那孤寂的旅程吗?

1st Stanza – Where are you going? ? Summary As the dew falls and the sun sets, I wonder where you (waterfowl) are going?


Vainly the fowler's eye Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
to shoot you

hunter’s eye

As, darkly seen against the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along.

徒然了猎鸟人的眼眸 他望着你远去的影儿,可曾想让你受伤 此时,你轻轻的身体 飞向了夜色里的残阳


2nd Stanza – A hunter might try to shoot you ? Summary A hunter (fowler) might try to bring you down as you float in the evening sky.


Seek'st thou the plashy brink
marshy, swampy

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
the edge of the wide river

Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
worn away by the sea the sea waves next

On the chafed ocean-side?

你在寻觅一片荒废的沼泽 还是搜罗着荆棘遍生的湖畔亦或栖息在长河边 要不就是愿意与那巨礁风浪 一齐掠擦大海的边岸

3rd Stanza – Lake, river, or ocean

? Summary Are you looking for the marshy edge of a lake, the bank of a river, or the shore of the ocean?


There is a Power whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast —
direct, guide

The desert and illimitable air—
limitless, not having any limits

Lone wandering, but not lost.

上帝眷恋着你 教你如何找对抵达海洋的方向 在无垠的天际 你独自翱翔,从未迷途

4th Stanza – ―There is a Power‖

? Summary There is a Power that leads you on your way across deserts and through unlimited expanses of air. You may be wandering and alone, but you will not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned, At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
fly downward

Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, Though the dark night is near.

你昼夜难息地在高空展翅飞翔 抚过了寒冷又抚过那薄薄的大 气 纵然你会疲倦,但你却不愿在 这方乐土栖息 可是夜已离你越来越近 next

5th Stanza – ―All day thy wings have fann’d‖ ? Summary You have been flapping your wings all day in the sky, yet you continue even though the night is near

hard ,difficult fight

And soon that toil shall end; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend, Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.tall grasses in marshland
next 艰辛的旅程似要完了 不久,你将筑个渡夏的巢,好好栖息 你的同伴们为你欢呼,芦苇也将弯下了它的腰 庇护你隐蔽的巢


6th Stanza – ―And soon that toil shall end‖ ? Summary Soon your journey will end. Soon you will descend to your summer home. There, you will scream among others of your kind and find secure shelter among the tall grasses.

Thou 'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
the limitless sky

Poetic for you are

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,

And shall not soon depart.
will remember forever

你已飞去,无尽的苍穹没了你的影子 而我心底 却深深烙下了你教我的这一课 我将永不会忘记


7th – Heaven has swallowed the bird’s

? Summary Maybe I won’t see you, but I will never forget the lesson you taught me.

He who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright.
神的旨意令你不论身处何地 都带着你无恙地越过四方天际 而在我一人长途跋涉的路域 他亦将永临我前 引领着我正确前行
next next

8th Stanza – That Power will also lead me ? Summary God, who guides you from one place to another, will also guide me through life, leading me to the right path.

The theme:

Everything in nature is guided and protected by the divine power of God who will lead his steps in the long way that he will tread alone.

the form
? “To a Waterfowl” consists of eight stanzas 诗节 with four lines each stanza. The first and fourth lines are written in iambic trimeter (抑扬格三音步) while the second and the third in the iambic pentameter(抑扬格五音步), ? rhyme scheme (押韵模式): abab.

Figures of Speech
? alliteration: While, Whither (Lines 1-2); depths, dost (L 3); their, thou, thy (L 3-4); distant, do, darkly (L 6-7) ? metaphor: last steps of day on my heart / deeply has sunk the lesson ? anaphora: repetition of “soon” (L 21, 22, 24). ? personification: waterfowl – person waterfowls – fellows (Stanza 6 )

The themes of Bryant’s poems:

death personal and political freedom.

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