Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant


ON yonder shore, on yonder shore,
Now verdant with the depth of shade,
Beneath the white-arm'd sycamore,
There is a little infant laid.
Forgive this tear. A brother weeps.
'Tis there the faded floweret sleeps.
She sleeps alone, she sleeps alone,
And summer's forests o'er her wave;
And sighing winds at autumn moan
Around the little stranger's grave,
As though they murmur'd at the fate
Of one so lone and desolate.
In sounds that seem like Sorrow's own,
Their funeral dirges faintly creep;
Then, deep'ning to an organ tone,
In all their solemn cadence sweep,
And pour, unheard, along the wild,
Their desert anthem o'er a child.
She came and pass'd. Can I forget
How we, whose hearts had hail'd her birth,
Ere three autumnal suns had set,
Consign'd her to her mother Earth!
Joys and their memories pass away;
But griefs are deeper traced than they.
We laid her in her narrow cell,
We heap'd the soft mould on her breast,
And parting tears, like raindrops, fell
Upon her lonely place of rest.
May angels guard it; may they bless
Her slumbers in the wilderness.
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She sleeps alone, she sleeps alone;
For, all unheard, on yonder shore,
The sweeping flood, with torrent moan,
At evening lifts its solemn roar,
As, in one broad, eternal tide,
Its rolling waters onward glide.
There is no marble monument,
There is no stone, with graven lie,
To tell of love and virtue blent
In one almost too good to die.
We needed no such useless trace
To point us to her resting-place.
She sleeps alone, she sleeps alone;
But, mid the tears of April showers,
The genius of the wild hath strown
His germes of fruits, his fairest flowers,
And cast his robe of vernal bloom,
In guardian fondness, o'er her tomb.
She sleeps alone, she sleeps alone;
But yearly is her grave-turf dress'd,
And still the summer-vines are thrown,
In annual wreaths, across her breast.
And still the sighing autumn grieves,
And strews the hallow'd spot with leaves.