Stanza 3 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
I long for scenes, where man has never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God;
- The poem's final stanza begins with the speaker longing for "scenes" where man has never been, and where women have never smiled or wept.
- Well, where in the world is this place? On the moon? At the North Pole? That'd be pretty cool, but unfortunately that's not where it is.
- This "place" might be Heaven. The speaker says he wants to go live ("abide") in a place with God. Last time we checked, God lives in Heaven.
- Now, hold on a second. Aren't a whole lot of dead people up there in heaven walking around and smiling? Maybe, but the point the speaker is making is that only living people walk and smile.
- Angels, or spirits, or whatever people become when they go Heaven, don't walk or smile the way "regular," living people do.
- We've seen a whole lot of death by this point, but this time it's a little different. Almost as if he's tired of all the "death" around him, the speaker starts actually yearning for death, too.
- That sounds sad and all, but the Heaven he imagines is a place where there is no weeping! That seems kind of neat, actually.
- Maybe it looks like this.
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling, and untroubled where I lie,
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.
- The speaker continues, using a simile (comparing with "as") to tell us that while he lives with his creator he wants to sleep, just like he did in childhood. If he sleeps like that, he won't bother anybody ("untroubling"), and nobody will bother him ("untroubled").
- The grass will be below, and the "vaulted sky" will be above. Well that's a very charming image now isn't it?
- By the way, "vaulted" just means arched. If you look up at the sky a certain way, it sort of looks like a vaulted ceiling. Supposedly.
- All this business about sleeping and lying makes us think of the speaker's actual grave, rather than Heaven. For example, a lot of headstones say things like "Here lies Bill Shmoop" and "Rest in Peace" (rest=sleep).
- This doesn't necessarily mean the speaker is actually talking about going to the grave, instead of Heaven. His body will go to the grave and rest, while his spirit or soul will go to Heaven to "abide" with his creator. Maybe.
- The rhyme scheme in this final stanza is the same as in the second stanza, by the way: ABABCC
- Even in this state, though, the speaker still has his writing chops. We also get some more terrific examples of alliteration, what with all the S sounds and the "Un-" words. (Alliteration of the S sound is specifically known as sibilance, just in case you wanted to know.)
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