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Poem by William Cullen Bryant

The Disinterred Warrior

Gather him to his grave again,
    And solemnly and softly lay,
Beneath the verdure of the plain,
    The warrior's scattered bones away.
Pay the deep reverence, taught of old,
    The homage of man's heart to death;
Nor dare to trifle with the mould
    Once hallowed by the Almighty's breath.

The soul hath quickened every part
    That remnant of a martial brow,
Those ribs that held the mighty heart,
    That strong armstrong no longer now.
Spare them, each mouldering relic spare,
    Of God's own image; let them rest,
Till not a trace shall speak of where
    The awful likeness was impressed.

For he was fresher from the hand
    That formed of earth the human face,
And to the elements did stand
    In nearer kindred, than our race.
In many a flood to madness tossed,[Page 124]
    In many a storm has been his path;
He hid him not from heat or frost,
    But met them, and defied their wrath.

Then they were kindthe forests here,
    Rivers, and stiller waters, paid
A tribute to the net and spear
    Of the red ruler of the shade.
Fruits on the woodland branches lay,
    Roots in the shaded soil below,
The stars looked forth to teach his way,
    The still earth warned him of the foe.

A noble race! but they are gone,
    With their old forests wide and deep,
And we have built our homes upon
    Fields where their generations sleep.
Their fountains slake our thirst at noon,
    Upon their fields our harvest waves,
Our lovers woo beneath their moon
    Then let us spare, at least, their graves!

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant's other poems:
  1. When the Firmament Quivers with Daylight's Young Beam
  2. Song of Marion's Men
  3. Song of the Greek Amazon
  4. The Lapse of Time
  5. William Tell

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