Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bryant - Poetry

The next poem is another new one for me.  The poet is William Cullen Bryant and the poem is titled 'Thanatopsis', which means 'view of death'.  He wrote it in 1811, when he was seventeen.  The whole piece is too long, but I'll give you the first part to get a feel for it.  The whole thing is here.

To him who, in the love of Nature, holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A Various language: for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty; and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over they spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house
Make the shudder, and grow sick at heart,-
Go forth under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around-
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air-
Comes a still voice:- Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image.

Bryant goes on to say (at length) that we shouldn't fear death in part because we'll be joining the great multitude of people who have already died.  The Earth is one great big beautiful tomb to all who have come before us.  So embrace your fate.
This one didn't do too much for me.  The language is pretty and the message is solid, it's just that, well, maybe the language is a bit too pretty.  Or maybe it's the fact that I desperately want to put some periods in there and end those sentences.  It seems that the message is actually smothered in flowers and I don't care for that, no matter how well it ties in with the message itself.

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