Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant


IN the tempest of life, when the wave and the gale
Are around and above, if thy footing should fail,
If thine eye should grow dim, and thy caution depart,
"Look aloft!" and be firm, and be fearless of heart.
If the friend who embraced in prosperity's glow,
With a smile for each joy and a tear for each wo,
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Should betray thee when sorrows like clouds are array'd,
"Look aloft" to the friendship which never shall fade.
Should the visions which hope spreads in light to thine eye,
Like the tints of the rainbow, but brighten to fly,
Then turn, and through tears of repentant regret,
"Look aloft" to the Sun that is never to set.
Should they who are dearest, the son of thy heart,
The wife of thy bosom in sorrow depart,
"Look aloft" from the darkness and dust of the tomb,
To that soil where affection is ever in bloom.
And oh! when death comes in his terrors, to cast
His fears on the future, his pall on the past,
In that moment of darkness, with hope in thy heart
And a smile in thine eye, "look aloft" and depart.