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Thanatopsis

Thanatopsis

by William Cullen Bryant

Spirituality Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

[…] sustained and soothed  
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, (78-79) 

This is as close as the poem gets to talking about something like religious faith.  That phrase "unfaltering trust" is sort of ambiguous, and we think Bryant did that on purpose.  He wants to raise spiritual questions, and to comfort our fears.  At the same time, he doesn’t want to tell us that we have to believe any particular thing.  He doesn’t insist, for example, that we put our faith in God.  Instead, he just suggests that things will be OK, and leaves us to fill in the rest.

Quote #5

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch      
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. (80-81)

This is kind of a happy, soothing image, isn’t it?  Have you ever curled up for a nap on a quiet Sunday afternoon, with the sun shining outside and a breeze blowing through the window?  That’s exactly how we imagine this moment:  a quiet nap, happy thoughts, and good dreams.  It’s a nice way to finish a sort of heavy poem.

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