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The Future Life

Written by: William Cullen Bryant | Biography
 | Quotes (29) |
HOW shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps 
The disembodied spirits of the dead  
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps 
And perishes among the dust we tread? 

For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain 5 
If there I meet thy gentle presence not; 
Nor hear the voice I love nor read again 
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought. 

Will not thy own meek heart demand me there? 
That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given¡ª 10 
My name on earth was ever in thy prayer  
And wilt thou never utter it in heaven? 

In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind  
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere  
And larger movements of the unfettered mind 15 
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here? 

The love that lived through all the stormy past  
And meekly with my harsher nature bore  
And deeper grew and tenderer to the last  
Shall it expire with life and be no more? 20 

A happier lot than mine and larger light  
Await thee there for thou hast bowed thy will 
In cheerful homage to the rule of right  
And lovest all and renderest good for ill. 

For me the sordid cares in which I dwell 25 
Shrink and consume my heart as heat the scroll; 
And wrath has left its scar¡ªthat fire of hell 
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul. 

Yet though thou wear'st the glory of the sky  
Wilt thou not keep the same belov¨¨d name 30 
The same fair thoughtful brow and gentle eye  
Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate yet the same? 

Shalt thou not teach me in that calmer home  
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this¡ª 
The wisdom which is love¡ªtill I become 35 
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?