The Connection Of God And Nature In Bryant\'s Thanatopsis

The Connection of God and Nature in Bryant’s “Thanatopsis”

“Thanatopsis”, by William Cullen Bryant says that nature tells us different things
at different times. When we are having good times, God and nature attribute to that.
When we are having bad times, God and nature are willing to help us through our
problems. In this poem, Bryant makes a connection between God and Nature through
society, imagery, destiny, status, and trust.
Although ‘Thanatopsis’ is the Greek word for meditation on death, it also can be
seen as a meditation on nature. Nature is being portrayed as the main influence and
supporter of the society: “She has a voice of gladness, and a smile/ And eloquence of
beauty, and she glides/ Into his darker musings, with a mild/ And healing sympathy, that
steals away/ Their sharpness, ere he is aware.” (4-8) More over, the poem indicates clear
examples for a relation between nature and God. In fact, Nature is a direct connection to
God: “[...] all the infinite host of heaven...” (46) Therefor reflecting back to the previous
statement, God is always there for people, especially for those who are suffering.
The poem also is mainly based on thoughts about death. The following lines are
descriptions and images of death: “When thoughts/ Of the last bitter hour come like a
blight/ over the spirit, and sad images/ Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall/ And
breathless darkness...” (8-11) But the three succeeding lines that no one should be afraid
and that Nature and God have the power to reconcile: “Go forth, under the open sky, and
list/ To Nature’s teachings, while from all around/ Earth and her waters, and the depths of
air/ Comes a still voice.” (14-17)
Even if you die alone the living will not live forever and eventually have the same
destiny: “So shalt though rest, and what if thou withdraw/ In silence from the living, and
no friend/ Take not of thy departure? All that breathe/ Will share thy destiny.” (58-61)
The death is there and cannot be ignored. However the message of the poem
states that death is not bad, for it is a natural thing that is apart of everyone’s life. There
is also no distinction among the status of people and all souls will be united in heaven:
“Yet not to thine eternal resting place/ Shalt though retire alone, not couldst thou wish/
Coach more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down/ With patriarchs of the infant world-with
kings,/ The powerful of the earth-the wise, the good/ Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages
past./All in one mighty sepulcher.” (31-37)
One is only able to imagine very briefly the ‘new’ life. No scourges will be taken,
everyone will be highly satisfied and can have an unlimited trust, since God will embrace
everyone: “[...] that mysterious realm, where each shall take/ His chamber in the silent
halls of death,/ Thou go not like the quarry-slave at night,/ Scourged to his dungeon, but,
sustained and soothed/ By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, like one who wraps
the drapery of his couch/ About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”(75-81)
We have no choice if we live or die, but we have a choice of how to die. We can
die kicking and screaming or graciously. If we ponder on death, then we will ponder our
life that we do have away. We shouldn’t worry, because we’re not alone, the whole
world is a graveyard that Nature and God created.

Category: English