Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
VI. Poems of Youth and Early Manhood (1823–1834)
A Mountain Grave
 
WHY 1 fear to die
And let thy body lie
Under the flowers of June,
  Thy body food
  For the ground-worms’ brood        5
And thy grave smiled on by the visiting moon.
 
Amid great Nature’s halls
Girt in by mountain walls
And washed with waterfalls
It would please me to die,        10
  Where every wind that swept my tomb
  Goes loaded with a free perfume
Dealt out with a God’s charity.
 
I should like to die in sweets,
A hill’s leaves for winding-sheets,        15
And the searching sun to see
That I am laid with decency.
And the commissioned wind to sing
His mighty psalm from fall to spring
And annual tunes commemorate        20
Of Nature’s child the common fate.

  WILLIAMSTOWN, VERMONT,
            1 June, 1831.
 
Note 1. After the death of his wife, and during the time when the enlargement of his mental horizon made Mr. Emerson regard the forms in use in the church with increasing repugnance, his health again under-went severe strain, and his future became very uncertain, as the next two poems show. [back]
 
 
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