The Twenty-Seventh of March

Author: William Cullen Bryant  | Date: 1854


Oh, gentle one, thy birthday sun should rise

Amid a chorus of the merriest birds

That ever sang the stars out of the sky

In a June morning. Rivulets should send

A voice of gladness from their winding paths,

Deep in o’erarching grass, where playful winds,

Stirring the loaded stems, should shower the dew

Upon the grassy water. Newly-blown

Roses, by thousands, to the garden-walks

Should tempt the loitering moth and diligent bee.

The longest, brightest day in all the year

Should be the day on which thy cheerful eyes

First opened on the earth, to make thy haunts

Fairer and gladder for thy kindly looks.

Thus might a poet say; but I must bring

A birthday offering of an humbler strain,

And yet it may not please thee less. I hold

That ’twas the fitting season for thy birth

When March, just ready to depart, begins

To soften into April. Then we have

The delicatest and most welcome flowers,

And yet they take least heed of bitter wind

And lowering sky. The periwinkle then,

In an hour’s sunshine, lifts her azure blooms

Beside the cottage-door; within the woods

Tufts of ground-laurel, creeping underneath

The leaves of the last summer, send their sweets

Up to the chilly air, and, by the oak,

The squirrel-cups, a graceful company,

Hide in their bells, a soft aerial blue-

Sweet flowers, that nestle in the humblest nooks,

And yet within whose smallest bud is wrapped

A world of promise! Still the north wind breathes

His frost, and still the sky sheds snow and sleet;

Yet ever, when the sun looks forth again,

The flowers smile up to him from their low seats.

Well hast thou borne the bleak March day of life.

Its storms and its keen winds to thee have been

Most kindly tempered, and through all its gloom

There has been warmth and sunshine in thy heart;

The griefs of life to thee have been like snows,

That light upon the fields in early spring,

Making them greener. In its milder hours,

The smile of this pale season, thou hast seen

The glorious bloom of June, and in the note

Of early bird, that comes a messenger

From climes of endless verdure, thou hast heard

The choir that fills the summer woods with song.

Now be the hours that yet remain to thee

Stormy or sunny, sympathy and love,

That inextinguishably dwell within

Thy heart, shall give a beauty and a light

To the most desolate moments, like the glow

Of a bright fireside in the wildest day;

And kindly words and offices of good

Shall wait upon thy steps, as thou goest on,

Where God shall lead thee, till thou reach the gates

Of a more genial season, and thy path

Be lost to human eye among the bowers

And living fountains of a brighter land.

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Chicago: William Cullen Bryant, The Twenty-Seventh of March Original Sources, accessed August 14, 2022,

MLA: Bryant, William Cullen. The Twenty-Seventh of March, Original Sources. 14 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: Bryant, WC, The Twenty-Seventh of March. Original Sources, retrieved 14 August 2022, from