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Thanatopsis and The Bible In William Cullen Bryants early nineteenth century poem Thanatopsis a collage of imagery and ideas surround a central theme of the cycle of life Within this poem lies a story of great wonder and hope The story is that of the afterlife in which Bryant conveys a lot of the same ideas of a majestic and heavenly paradise that are present in the Christian Bible Since Bryant was schooled heavily in theology is Thanatopsis based on the ideas that the Christian Bible holds of the afterlife Bryant immediately introduces his notion of spiritual unity among humans and nature in the first line of the poem To him in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms she speaks A various language for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness and a smile And eloquence of beauty and she glides Into his darker musings with a mild And gentle sympathy that steals away Their sharpness ere he is aware Line 1 From this opening line of the poem the reader is aware of Bryants use of metaphorical language to describe the bond in which nature holds with man According to the first book of Genesis God created all of nature and delegated some of his authority over it to the human race He gave humans the promise of protection and forgiveness in return for the service of watching over his creation This is what Bryant affirms to be the Communion in which man holds with nature Since nature is the circumstance for human existence humans see it as glorious as well as comforting in times of trouble No matter how lonely or desolate a human soul can get nature is still part of man This is a very strong correlation to the Christian Bible however it is not the only one that Bryant mentions in Thanatopsis Bryant goes on to describe and almost tell
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