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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

I GAZED upon the glorious sky

And the green mountains round;

And thought that when I came to lie

At rest within the ground,

’Twere pleasant that in flowery June,

When brooks send up a cheerful tune

And groves a joyous sound,

The sexton’s hand, my grave to make,

The rich green mountain turf should break.

A cell within the frozen mold,

A coffin borne through sleet,

And icy clods above it rolled,

While fierce the tempests beat—

Away! I will not think of these:

Blue be the sky and soft the breeze,

Earth green beneath the feet,

And be the damp mold gently pressed

Into my narrow place of rest.

There through the long, long summer hours

The golden light should lie,

And thick young herbs and groups of flowers

Stand in their beauty by;

The oriole should build and tell

His love-tale close beside my cell;

The idle butterfly

Should rest him there, and there be heard

The housewife bee and humming-bird.

And what if cheerful shouts at noon

Come, from the village sent,

Or songs of maids beneath the moon,

With fairy laughter blent?

And what if, in the evening light,

Betrothèd lovers walk in sight

Of my low monument?

I would the lovely scene around

Might know no sadder sight nor sound.

I know that I no more should see

The season’s glorious show,

Nor would its brightness shine for me,

Nor its wild music flow;

But if, around my place of sleep.

The friends I love should come to weep,

They might not haste to go.

Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom,

Should keep them lingering by my tomb.

These to their softened hearts should bear

The thought of what has been,

And speak of one who cannot share

The gladness of the scene;

Whose part in all the pomp that fills

The circuit of the summer hills

Is—that his grave is green;

And deeply would their hearts rejoice

To hear again his living voice.