What is the overall mood of the poem "To a Waterfowl"?

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In the famous poem "To a Waterfowl" by William Cullen Bryant, the narrator observes a bird flying alone high in the sky while he's on a walk. The overall mood is contemplative. The narrator uses the sighting of the bird to think about the existence of God and relate it to his own life.

As the poem opens, the narrator has already caught sight of the solitary bird and is wondering where it is going. He notes that the bird is flying too far away in the dark sky to be shot by fowlers, which means people who are hunting birds. He contemplates whether the bird is seeking refuge beside a lake, a river, or the ocean.

In the next stanza, the narrator writes of a Power, meaning God, who directs the bird's flight so that it is not lost even if it is alone. The narrator urges the bird to keep flying until it finds its "summer home" in the company of others of its kind, where it can finally rest in a "sheltered nest."

In the last two stanzas, the narrator compares the flight of the lonely bird with his own situation. He has learned a lesson from the bird. Just as God guides the bird in its solitary flight through the sky, He will guide the steps of the narrator in his long path through life.

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Organized around the scenic images and the poet's somewhat whimsical reflections, "To a waterfowl" by William Cullen Bryant has a spiritual tone as the poet opens a dialogue between Nature and his soul:

There is a Power whose care/Teaches thy way along that pathless coast--

Certinly, these lines can hold true for man or fowl.  Like the bird that "the abyss of heaven/Hath swallowed up," the poet's soul, too, will be guided by the "Power," and have direction through his solitary journey through life.

The beautiful nature imagery of Bryant helps to create the connection of Nature with the spirit of the poet's soul.  The "marge of river wide" and "chafed ocean side" suggest that the paths of the bird are ambiguous and in need of one to guide him.  The auditory image of "scream" rather than "cry" or another word suggests the bird's exhiliration, an exhiliration to be compared to the soul's finding a path in its life journey.

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What is the dominant emotional mood in the poem "To a Waterfowl"?

“To a Waterfowl” is a spiritual poem by William Cullen Bryant, first published in 1818.  In the poem Bryant, on a solitary walk himself, espies a flying waterfowl overhead and draws a parallel between its journey, guided by a “Power whose care/ Teaches thy way along that pathless coast – / The desert and illimitable air –/ Lone wandering, but not lost,” and his own.  This same power, Bryant avows in the final line of  the poem, “will lead my steps aright.”  Faith is therefore a central theme of this piece – faith in a higher power who will guide the poet in his own journey just as he is guiding the waterfowl, keeping it safe from hunters’ eyes through the seasons and through its changing environment.  In faith, as well, there is hope and serenity, comfort in the safety granted by God.  He makes mention of the fowl’s “sheltered nest” among his brethren.

This poem is an early example of the Romantic movement in American poetry, making extensive use of natural imagery and man’s communion with God and the spiritual realm. 

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What is the mood in the poem "To a Waterfowl" by William Cullen Bryant?

The mood of William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl" is contemplative and reverent. In the opening stanza, the speaker asks the bird where it goes at sunset. In the next, he observes that a hunter would be unable to harm it. In the third stanza, the speaker speculates on places the bird might go. In the fourth stanza, the speaker states that a "Power," presumably divine, guides the bird. The fifth stanza observes that the bird is protected and sustained on its long journey, and the sixth predicts that the bird will find a new home among its companions at the end of its journey. In the second to last stanza, the bird has disappeared from view, but the speaker knows he has learned a lasting lesson from it. The final stanza reveals the lesson: the same "Power" that guides the bird will guide him through his life as well. It is a poem about faith in God being affirmed in nature, so the mood is reflective.

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