Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant

Summary: Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant is a poem about death. First the narrator says that death is something everyone must do alone, then says that nature will be there to comfort you during and after death.

Section One:

  • For people that go out in nature, Nature will ease any suffering for them
  • When you are about to die and have lots of bad feelings, go out into nature and you will be calmed
  • You will realize you are one with nature and the earth will take you back

Section Two:

  • You will not be alone in death because all other people will be there, and so will all of nature's creations
  • Everyone dies and goes to the same place

Section Three:

  • Don't be scared of death when it is time to die
  • Go to your death when it is time with trust, like one who "lies down to pleasant dreams"

Other Notes:

  • Bryant made up the word thanatopsis, which means a "view of death"
  • Humans should turn to nature when they are about to die even more than normal
  • death is originally describes as something you must go at alone, but later is shown as something that nature will help with

© 2009 copyright Thanatopsis | William Cullen Bryant