by: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

      GAZED upon the glorious sky
      And the green mountains round,
      And thought that when I came to lie
      At rest within the ground,
      'T were 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 mould,
      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 mould 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 song 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.

"June" is reprinted from Yale Book of American Verse. Ed. Thomas R. Lounsbury. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1912.




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