The Living Lost

Author: William Cullen Bryant  | Date: 1837


Matron! the children of whose love,

Each to his grave, in youth have passed;

And now the mould is heaped above

The dearest and the last!

Bride! who dost wear the widow’s veil

Before the wedding flowers are pale!

Ye deem the human heart endures

No deeper, bitterer grief than yours.

Yet there are pangs of keener woe,

Of which the sufferers never speak,

Nor to the world’s cold pity show

The tears that scald the cheek,

Wrung from their eyelids by the shame

And guilt of those they shrink to name,

Whom once they loved with cheerful will,

And love, though fallen and branded, still.

Weep, ye who sorrow for the dead,

Thus breaking hearts their pain relieve,

And reverenced are the tears they shed,

And honored ye who grieve.

The praise of those who sleep in earth,

The pleasant memory of their worth,

The hope to meet when life is past,

Shall heal the tortured mind at last.

But ye, who for the living lost

That agony in secret bear,

Who shall with soothing words accost

The strength of your despair?

Grief for your sake is scorn for them

Whom ye lament and all condemn;

And o’er the world of spirits lies

A gloom from which ye turn your eyes.

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Chicago: William Cullen Bryant, The Living Lost Original Sources, accessed June 17, 2024,

MLA: Bryant, William Cullen. The Living Lost, Original Sources. 17 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: Bryant, WC, The Living Lost. Original Sources, retrieved 17 June 2024, from