William Cullen Bryant: from Thanatopsis

(Nov. 3, 1794-June 12, 1878)

Not a huge fan of Bryant, but he does have his moments. This is the opening few lines of perhaps his most famous poem, “Thanatopsis.” A good example of American Romanticism. Besides, you’ve got to love a guy with a beard like his.

        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.

                           –William Cullen Bryant, from “Thanatopsis”

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