It had been a long day and Algy was feeling tired, so he stopped to rest in a flowery meadow, while the last of the sunshine still lit up the hillsides. The misty islands of the Inner Hebrides hovered in the distance, far beyond the deep freshwater loch that was shimmering in the evening light. A cool breeze rustled through the bracken, and Algy thought of a poem by William Cullen Bryant, which he would like to dedicate to everyone who has been suffering from the heat:

          Spirit that breathest through my lattice, thou
             That cool’st the twilight of the sultry day,
          Gratefully flows thy freshness round my brow:
             Thou hast been out upon the deep at play,
          Riding all day the wild blue waves till now,
             Roughening their crests, and scattering high their spray
          And swelling the white sail. I welcome thee
          To the scorched land, thou wanderer of the sea!

          Nor I alone—a thousand blossoms round
             Inhale thee in the fulness of delight;
          And languid forms rise up, and pulses bound
             Livelier, at coming of the wind of night;
          And, languishing to hear thy grateful sound,
             Lies the vast inland stretched beyond the sight.
          Go forth into the gathering shade; go forth,
          God’s blessing breathed upon the fainting earth!

          Go, rock the little wood-bird in his nest,
             Curl the still waters, bright with stars, and rouse
          The wide old wood from his majestic rest,
             Summoning from the innumerable boughs
          The strange, deep harmonies that haunt his breast:
             Pleasant shall be thy way where meekly bows.
          The shutting flower, and darkling waters pass,
          And where the o’ershadowing branches sweep the grass.

[Algy is quoting the first three verses of The Evening Wind by William Cullen Bryant.]


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