Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1821–1834
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vol. V: Literature of the Republic, Part II., 1821–1834
By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)
[From Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant. Edited by Parke Godwin. 1883.]

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,        5
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 mould,        10
    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,        15
    Earth green beneath the feet,
And be the damp mould gently pressed
Into my narrow place of rest.
There through the long, long summer hours,
    The golden light should lie,        20
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        25
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        30
    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        35
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;        40
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.        45
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        50
The circuit of the summer hills,
    Is that his grave is green;
And deeply would their hearts rejoice
To hear again his living voice.

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