William Cullen Bryant (November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878) was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.. American romantic poet journalist and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post
The Future Life
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?