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by William Cullen Bryant


Two dark-eyed maidsat shut of day

Sat where a river rolled away

With calm sad brows and raven hair

And one was pale and both were fair.

Bring flowersthey sangbring flowers unblown

Bring forest-blooms of name unknown;

Bring budding sprays from wood and wild

To strew the bier of Lovethe child. -

Close softlyfondlywhile ye weep

His eyesthat death may seem like sleep

And fold his hands in sign of rest

His waxen handsacross his breast.

And make his grave where violets hide

Where star-flowers strew the rivulet's side

And bluebirds in the misty spring

Of cloudless skies and summer sing. -

Place near himas ye lay him low

His idle shaftshis loosened bow

The silken fillet that around

His waggish eyes in sport he wound.

But we shall mourn him longand miss

His ready smilehis ready kiss

The patter of his little feet

Sweet frowns and stammered phrases sweet; -

And graver looksserene and high

A light of heaven in that young eye

All these shall haunt us till the heart

Shall ache and ache- and tears will start.

The bowthe band shall fall to dust

The shining arrows waste with rust

And all of Love that earth can claim

Be but a memory and a name. -

Not thus his nobler part shall dwell

A prisoner in this narrow cell;

But he whom now we hide from men

In the dark groundshall live again:

Shall break these clodsa form of light

With nobler mien and purer sight

And in the eternal glory stand

Highest and nearest God's right hand. - -