In A Christian Churchyard

This field of stones, he said,
May well call forth a sigh;
Beneath them lie the dead,
On them the living lie.

by James Thomson.

On The Tombstone Of James Christopher Wilson (D. April 11, 1884) In Headley Churchyard, Surrey

Thou our beloved and light of Earth hast crossed
The sea of darkness to the yonder shore.
There dost thou shine a light transferred, not lost,
Through love to kindle in our souls the more.

by George Meredith.

Eastnor Churchyard

I BE hopin' you remember,
Now the Spring has come again,
How we used to gather violets
By the Uttle church at Eastnor,
For we were so happy then !

O my love, do you remember
Kisses that you took and gave ?
There be violets now in plenty
By the little church at Eastnor,
But they're growing on your grave.

by Radclyffe Hall.

Elegy In A Country Churchyard

The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds of England
About the cross can roam.

But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.

And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England,
They have no graves as yet.

by Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Epitaph For A Roman Catholic Churchyard

Weary centinel of earth,
Grief's companion from my birth,
Doomed no more to watch and weep,
Now I sleep the dreamless sleep
In this calmly shrouding cell;
But what the waking—who may tell!
In that fated hour of fear,
Mary! Mother! be thou here.
Fear to sooth and hope to shed,
Bend thee o'er this earthy bed;
And let my waking view thee mild
As mother o'er her wakening child.

by John Kenyon.

In A Breton Cemetery

They sleep well here,
These fisher-folk who passed their anxious days
In fierce Atlantic ways;
And found not there,
Beneath the long curled wave,
So quiet a grave.

And they sleep well,
These peasant-folk, who told their lives away,
From day to market-day,
As one should tell,
With patient industry,
Some sad old rosary.

And now night falls,
Me, tempest-tost, and driven from pillar to post,
A poor worn ghost,
This quiet pasture calls;
And dear dead people with pale hands
Beckon me to their lands.

by Ernest Christopher Dowson.

In The Churchyard At Tarrytown

Here lies the gentle humorist, who died
In the bright Indian Summer of his fame!
A simple stone, with but a date and name,
Marks his secluded resting-place beside
The river that he loved and glorified.
Here in the autumn of his days he came,
But the dry leaves of life were all aflame
With tints that brightened and were multiplied.
How sweet a life was his; how sweet a death!
Living, to wing with mirth the weary hours,
Or with romantic tales the heart to cheer;
Dying, to leave a memory like the breath
Of summers full of sunshine and of showers,
A grief and gladness in the atmosphere.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

In A Churchyard

There may be seeming calm above, but no!-
There is a pulse below which ceases not,
A subterranean working, fiery hot,
Deep in the million-hearted bosom, though
Earthquakes unlock not the prodigious show
Of elemental conflict; and this spot
Nurses most quiet bones which lie and rot,
And here the humblest weeds take root and grow.
There is a calm upon the mighty sea,
Yet are its depths alive and full of being,
Enormous bulks that move unwieldily;
Yet, pore we on it, they are past our seeing!-
From the deep sea-weed fields, though wide and ample,
Comes there no rushing sound:
these
do not trample!

by George MacDonald.

In Beechwood Cemetery

Here the dead sleep--the quiet dead. No sound
Disturbs them ever, and no storm dismays.
Winter mid snow caresses the tired ground,
And the wind roars about the woodland ways.
Springtime and summer and red autumn pass,
With leaf and bloom and pipe of wind and bird,
And the old earth puts forth her tender grass,
By them unfelt, unheeded and unheard.
Our centuries to them are but as strokes
In the dim gamut of some far-off chime.
Unaltering rest their perfect being cloaks--
A thing too vast to hear or feel or see--
Children of Silence and Eternity,
They know no season but the end of time.

by Archibald Lampman.

IN the dewy depths of the graveyard
I lie in the tangled grass,
And watch, in the sea of azure,
The white cloud-islands pass.

The birds in the rustling branches
Sing gayly overhead;
Gray stones like sentinel spectres
Are guarding the silent dead.

The early flowers sleep shaded
In the cool green noonday glooms;
The broken light falls shuddering
On the cold white face of the tombs.

Without, the world is smiling
In the infinite love of God,
But the sunlight fails and falters
When it falls on the churchyard sod.

On me the joyous rapture
Of a heart's first love is shed,
But it falls on my heart as coldly
As sunlight on the dead.

by John Hay.

At Magnolia Cemetery

SLEEP sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause;
Though yet no marble column craves
The pilgrim here to pause.

In seeds of laurel in the earth
The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere, waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone!

Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years
Which keep in trust your storied tombs,
Behold! your sisters bring their tears,
And these memorial blooms.

Small tributes! but your shades will smile
More proudly on these wreaths to-day,
Than when some cannon-moulded pile
Shall overlook this bay.

Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies,
By mourning beauty crowned.

by Henry Timrod.

Ode At Magnolia Cemetery

Sleep sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause;
Though yet no marble column craves
The pilgrim here to pause.

In seeds of laurel in the earth
The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere, waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone!

Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years,
Which keep in trust your storied tombs,
Behold! your sisters bring their tears,
And these memorial blooms.

Small tributes! but your shades will smile
More proudly on these wreaths to-day,
Than when some cannon-moulded pile
Shall overlook this bay.

Stoop, angels, thither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies,
By mourning beauty crowned.

by Henry Timrod.

Hymn Sung At The Consecration Of Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S.C.

Whose was the hand that painted thee, O Death!
In the false aspect of a ruthless foe,
Despair and sorrow waiting on thy breath --
O gentle Power! who could have wronged thee so?

Thou rather shouldst be crowned with fadeless flowers,
Of lasting fragrance and celestial hue;
Or be thy couch amid funereal bowers,
But let the stars and sunlight sparkle through.

So, with these thoughts before us, we have fixed
And beautified, O Death! thy mansion here,
Where gloom and gladness -- grave and garden -- mixed,
Make it a place to love, and not to fear.

Heaven! shed thy most propitious dews around!
Ye holy stars! look down with tender eyes,
And gild and guard and consecrate the ground
Where we may rest, and whence we pray to rise.

by Henry Timrod.

Hymn - Consecration Of Magnolia Cemetery

Whose was the hand that painted thee, O Death!
In the false aspect of a ruthless foe,
Despair and sorrow waiting on thy breath --
O gentle Power! who could have wronged thee so?

Thou rather shouldst be crowned with fadeless flowers,
Of lasting fragrance and celestial hue;
Or be thy couch amid funereal bowers,
But let the stars and sunlight sparkle through.

So, with these thoughts before us, we have fixed
And beautified, O Death! thy mansion here,
Where gloom and gladness -- grave and garden -- mixed,
Make it a place to love, and not to fear.

Heaven! shed thy most propitious dews around!
Ye holy stars! look down with tender eyes,
And gild and guard and consecrate the ground
Where we may rest, and whence we pray to rise.

by Henry Timrod.

In The Churchyard At Cambridge. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The First)

In the village churchyard she lies,
Dust is in her beautiful eyes,
No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;
At her feet and at her head
Lies a slave to attend the dead,
But their dust is white as hers.

Was she a lady of high degree,
So much in love with the vanity
And foolish pomp of this world of ours?
Or was it Christian charity,
And lowliness and humility,
The richest and rarest of all dowers?

Who shall tell us? No one speaks;
No color shoots into those cheeks,
Either of anger or of pride,
At the rude question we have asked;
Nor will the mystery be unmasked
By those who are sleeping at her side.

Hereafter?--And do you think to look
On the terrible pages of that Book
To find her failings, faults, and errors?
Ah, you will then have other cares,
In your own short-comings and despairs,
In your own secret sins and terrors!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Levelled Churchyard

"O passenger, pray list and catch
   Our sighs and piteous groans,
Half stifled in this jumbled patch
   Of wrenched memorial stones!

"We late-lamented, resting here,
   Are mixed to human jam,
And each to each exclaims in fear,
   'I know not which I am!'

"The wicked people have annexed
   The verses on the good;
A roaring drunkard sports the text
   Teetotal Tommy should!

"Where we are huddled none can trace,
   And if our names remain,
They pave some path or p-ing place
   Where we have never lain!

"There's not a modest maiden elf
   But dreads the final Trumpet,
Lest half of her should rise herself,
   And half some local strumpet!

"From restorations of Thy fane,
   From smoothings of Thy sward,
From zealous Churchmen's pick and plane
   Deliver us O Lord! Amen!"

by Thomas Hardy.

Written In A Country Churchyard

Oh! how I hate the cumbrous pride
Of plume and pall and scutcheon'd hearse,
And all the rank and ready tide
Of venal prose and lying verse.
Nor in the city's churchyard, rife
With close compacted crowds of dead,
And clogged with thoughts of stir and strife,
Would I consent to lay my head
But where 'mid Quantock's waving scene
Of brow and glen, some village church
From forth the coppice clustering green
Projects its grey and simple porch;

From whose worn seat the eye may view
Brown upland slope and cattled plain,
And, farther still, the summits blue
Of hills that skirt the channell'd main;
There, Nea, in some quiet nook,
May we our place of resting have,
And let a broad majestic oak
Wave its green branches near the grave.
No costly stone for us be planned
With palisading stern and high,
As if from truth's indignant hand
To fence foul flattery's graven lie;
But o'er the turf let sun and air
And dew their blessed influence fling,
And rosy children gather there
The earliest violets of the spring;
There let the cuckoo's oft-told tale
Be heard at flush of morning light;
And there the pensive nightingale
Chaunt requiem half the summer night.

by John Kenyon.

Sun-Dial, In The Churchyard Of Bremhill

So passes silent o'er the dead thy shade,
Brief Time; and hour by hour, and day by day,
The pleasing pictures of the present fade,
And like a summer vapour steal away!

And have not they, who here forgotten lie
(Say, hoary chronicler of ages past!)
Once marked thy shadow with delighted eye,
Nor thought it fled, how certain, and how fast!

Since thou hast stood, and thus thy vigil kept,
Noting each hour, o'er mouldering stones beneath;
The pastor and his flock alike have slept,
And dust to dust proclaimed the stride of death.

Another race succeeds, and counts the hour,
Careless alike; the hour still seems to smile,
As hope, and youth, and life, were in our power;
So smiling and so perishing the while.

I heard the village bells, with gladsome sound,
When to these scenes a stranger I drew near,
Proclaim the tidings to the village round,
While memory wept upon the good man's bier.

Even so, when I am dead, shall the same bells
Ring merrily, when my brief days are gone;
While still the lapse of time thy shadow tells,
And strangers gaze upon my humble stone!

Enough, if we may wait in calm content,
The hour that bears us to the silent sod;
Blameless improve the time that heaven has lent,
And leave the issue to thy will, O God!

by William Lisle Bowles.

Scenes In London Iv - The City Churchyard

I PRAY thee lay me not to rest
Among these mouldering bones;
Too heavily the earth is prest
By all these crowded stones.

Life is too gay—life is too near—
With all its pomp and toil;
I pray thee do not lay me here,
In such a world-struck soil.

The ceaseless roll of wheels would wake
The slumbers of the dead;
I cannot bear for life to make
Its pathway o'er my head.

The flags around are cold and drear,
They stand apart, alone;
And no one ever pauses here,
To sorrow for the gone.

No: lay me in the far green fields
The summer sunshine cheers;
And where the early wild flower yields
The tribute of its tears.

Where shadows the sepulchral yew,
Where droops the willow tree,
Where the long grass is filled with dew—
Oh! make such grave for me!

And passers-by, at evening's close,
Will pause beside the grave,
And moralize o'er the repose
They fear, and yet they crave.

Perhaps some kindly hand may bring
Its offering to the tomb;
And say, As fades the rose in spring,
So fadeth human bloom.

But here there is no kindly thought
To soothe, and to relieve;
No fancies and no flowers are brought,
That soften while they grieve.

Here Poesy and Love come not—
It is a world of stone;
The grave is bought—is closed—forgot!
And then life hurries on.

Sorrow and beauty—nature—love—
Redeem man's common breath;
Ah! let them shed the grave above—
Give loveliness to death.

by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire

THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray,
And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day:
Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men,
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.

They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea;
Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.

Thou too, aerial pile, whose pinnacles
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire,
Obey'st I in silence their sweet solemn spells,
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height
Gather among the stars the clouds of night.

The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres:
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound,
Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs,
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around,
And, mingling with the still night and mute sky,
Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.

Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild
And terrorless as this serenest night.
Here could I hope, like some enquiring child
Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight
Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep
That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Lines Written Beneath An Elm In The Churchyard Of Harrow On The Hill, Sept. 2, 1807

Spot of my youth! whose hoary branches sigh,
Swept by the breeze that fans thy cloudless sky;
Where now alone I muse, who oft have trod,
With those I loved, thy soft and verdant sod;
With those who, scattered far, perchance deplore,
Like me, the happy scenes they knew before:
Oh! as I trace again thy winding hill,
Mine eyes admire, my heart adores thee still,
Thou drooping Elm! beneath whose boughs I lay,
And frequent mused the twilight hours away;
Where, as they once were wont, my limbs recline,
But ah! without the thoughts which then were mine.
How do thy branches, moaning to the blast,
Invite the bosom to recall the past,
And seem to whisper, as the gently swell,
'Take, while thou canst, a lingering, last farewell!'

When fate shall chill, at length, this fevered breast,
And calm its cares and passions into rest,
Oft have I thought, 'twould soothe my dying hour,—
If aught may soothe when life resigns her power,—
To know some humbler grave, some narrow cell,
Would hide my bosom where it loved to dwell.
With this fond dream, methinks, 'twere sweet to die—
And here it lingered, here my heart might lie;
Here might I sleep, where all my hopes arose,
Scene of my youth, and couch of my repose;
For ever stretched beneath this mantling shade,
Pressed by the turf where once my childhood played;
Wrapped by the soil that veils the spot I loved,
Mixed with the earth o'er which my footsteps moved;
Blest by the tongues that charmed my youthful ear,
Mourned by the few my soul acknowledged here;
Deplored by those in early days allied,
And unremembered by the world beside.

by George Gordon Byron.

Our Mountain Cemetery

Lonely and silent and calm it lies
’Neath rosy dawn or midnight skies;
So densely peopled, yet so still,
The murmuring voice of mountain rill,
The plaint the wind ’mid branches wakes,
Alone the solemn silence breaks.

Whatever changes the seasons bring,—
The birds, the buds of joyous spring,
The glories that come with the falling year
The snows and storms of winter drear,—
Are all unmarked in this lone spot,
Its shrouded inmates feel them not.

Thoughts full of import, earnest and deep,
Must the feeling heart in their spirit steep,
Here, where Death’s footprints meet the sight:
The long chill rows of tombstones white,
The graves so thickly, widely spread,
Within this city of the Dead.

Say, who could tell what aching sighs,
What tears from heavy, grief-dimmed eyes,
Have here been shed in silent woe,
Mourning the cold, still form below;
Or o’er past harshness, coldness, hate,
Grieving, alas! too late—too late!

Oh, man, vain dreamer of this life,
Seeking ’mid restless toil and strife
For wealth, for happiness, for fame,
Thirsting to make thyself a name,
See, unto what thy course doth tend,
Of all thy toils—there is the end.

Woman, of grace or beauty proud,
Seeking alone gay fashion’s crowd,—
Thine aim, admiring looks to win,
E’en at the price of folly or sin,
That beauty now to thee so dear,
Would’st thou know its fate?
Look around thee, here.

But not alone such lessons stern
May we within the grave-yard learn:
’Tis here the servant wise and good,
Who loyal to his trust hath stood,
Will joyously at length lay down
The heavy cross to receive the crown.

And hope, sweet messenger of God,
Poised lightly ’bove the charnel sod,
With upturned brow and radiant eyes,
Pointing unto the distant skies,
Whispers: “Oh, weary child of care,
Look up! thy heavenly home is there!”

by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon.

HOW slowly creeps the hand of Time
On the old clock’s green-mantled face!
Yea, slowly as those ivies climb,
The hours roll round with patient pace;
The drowsy rooks caw on the tower,
The tame doves hover round and round;
Below, the slow grass hour by hour
Makes green God’s sleeping-ground.

All moves, but nothing here is swift;
The grass grows deep, the green boughs shoot;
From east to west the shadows drift;
The earth feels heavenward underfoot;
The slow stream through the bridge doth stray
With water-lilies on its marge,
And slowly, pil’d with scented hay,
Creeps by the silent barge.

All stirs, but nothing here is loud:
The cushat broods, the cuckoo cries;
Faint, far up, under a white cloud,
The lark trills soft to earth and skies;
And underneath the green graves rest;
And through the place, with slow footfalls,
With snowy cambric on his breast,
The old gray Vicar crawls.

And close at hand, to see him come,
Clustering at the playground gate,
The urchins of the schoolhouse, dumb
And bashful, hang the head and wait;
The little maidens curtsey deep,
The boys their forelocks touch meanwhile,
The Vicar sees them, half asleep,
And smiles a sleepy smile.

Slow as the hand on the clock’s face,
Slow as the white cloud in the sky,
He cometh now with tottering pace
To the old vicarage hard by:
Smother’d it stands in ivy leaves,
Laurels and yews make dark the ground;
The swifts that build beneath the eaves
Wheel in still circles round.

And from the portal, green and dark,
He glances at the church-clock old—
Gray soul! why seek his eyes to mark
The creeping of that finger cold?
He cannot see, but still as stone
He pauses, listening for the chime,
And hears from that green tower intone
The eternal voice of Time.

by William Cosmo Monkhouse.

In A Swedish Graveyard

After wearisome toil and much sorrow,
How quietly sleep they at last,
Neither dreading and fearing the morrow,
Nor vainly bemoaning the past!
Shall we give them our envy or pity?
Shall we shun or yearn after such rest,
So calm near the turbulent city,
With their heart stilled at length in their breast?

They all sleep with their heads lying westward,
Where all suns and all days have gone down.
Do they long for the dawn, looking eastward?
Do they dream of the strife and the crown?
Each one held a lit taper when dying:
Where hath vanished the fugitive flame?
With his love, and his joy, and his sighing,
Alas! and his youth and his name.

The living stands o'er him and dreameth,
And wonders what dreams came to him.
While the tender, brief twilight still gleameth,
With a light strangely mournful and dim.
And he wonders what lights and what shadows
Passed over these dead long ago,
When their feet now at rest trod these meadows,
And their hearts throbbed to pleasure or woe

What dreams came to them in their living?
The self-same that come now to thee.
If thou findest those dreams are deceiving,
Then these lives thou wilt know and wilt see:
The same visions of love and of glory,
The same vain regret for the past;
All the same poor and pitiful story,
Till the taper's extinguished at last.

All the treasures on earth that they cherished,
Now they care not to clasp nor to save;
And the poor little lights, how they perished,
Slowly dying alone in the grave!
With a flickering faint on the features
Of age, or of youth in its bloom:
Lighting up for grim Death his weak creatures,
In the darkness and night of the tomb,—

With a radiance ghostly and mournful,
On the good, on the just and unjust;
For a space, till the monarch, so scornful,
Turned the light and the lighted to dust.
No taper of earth he desired
In his halls where they quietly rest;
For all those who have toiled and are tired,
Utter darkness and sleep may be best.

by Emma Lazarus.

In Laleham Churchyard

'Twas at this season, year by year,
The singer who lies songless here
Was wont to woo a less austere,
Less deep repose,
Where Rotha to Winandermere
Unresting flows,-

Flows through a land where torrents call
To far-off torrents as they fall,
And mountains in their cloudy pall
Keep ghostly state,
And Nature makes majestical
Man's lowliest fate.

There, 'mid the August glow, still came
He of the twice-illustrious name,
The loud impertinence of fame
Not loth to flee-
Not loth with brooks and fells to claim
Fraternity.

Linked with his happy youthful lot,
Is Loughrigg, then, at last forgot?
Nor silent peak nor dalesman's cot
Looks on his grave.
Lulled by the Thames he sleeps, and not
By Rotha's wave.

'Tis fittest thus! for though with skill
He sang of beck and tarn and ghyll,
The deep, authentic mountain-thrill
Ne'er shook his page!
Somewhat of worldling mingled still
With bard and sage.

And 'twere less meet for him to lie
Guarded by summits lone and high
That traffic with the eternal sky
And hear, unawed,
The everlasting fingers ply
The loom of God,

Than, in this hamlet of the plain,
A less sublime repose to gain,
Where Nature, genial and urbane,
To man defers,
Yielding to us the right to reign,
Which yet is hers.

And nigh to where his bones abide,
The Thames with its unruffled tide
Seems like his genius typified,-
Its strength, its grace,
Its lucid gleam, its sober pride,
Its tranquil pace.

But ah! not his the eventual fate
Which doth the journeying wave await-
Doomed to resign its limpid state
And quickly grow
Turbid as passion, dark as hate,
And wide as woe.

Rather, it may be, over-much
He shunned the common stain and smutch,
From soilure of ignoble touch
Too grandly free,
Too loftily secure in such
Cold purity.

But he preserved from chance control
The fortress of his 'stablisht soul;
In all things sought to see the Whole;
Brooked no disguise;
And set his heart upon the goal,
Not on the prize.

With those Elect he shall survive
Who seem not to compete or strive,
Yet with the foremost still arrive,
Prevailing still:
Spirits with whom the stars connive
To work their will.

And ye, the baffled many, who,
Dejected, from afar off view
The easily victorious few
Of calm renown,-
Have ye not your sad glory too,
And mournful crown?

Great is the facile conqueror;
Yet haply he, who, wounded sore,
Breathless, unhorsed, all covered o'er
With blood and sweat,
Sinks foiled, but fighting evermore,-
Is greater yet.

by William Watson.

The Jewish Cemetery At Newport

How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,
Close by the street of this fair seaport town,
Silent beside the never-silent waves,
At rest in all this moving up and down!

The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep
Wave their broad curtains in the southwind's breath,
While underneath these leafy tents they keep
The long, mysterious Exodus of Death.

And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown,
That pave with level flags their burial-place,
Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down
And broken by Moses at the mountain's base.

The very names recorded here are strange,
Of foreign accent, and of different climes;
Alvares and Rivera interchange
With Abraham and Jacob of old times.

"Blessed be God! for he created Death!"
The mourner said, "and Death is rest and peace!"
Then added, in the certainty of faith,
"And giveth Life that nevermore shall cease."

Closed are the portals of their Synagogue,
No Psalms of David now the silence break,
No Rabbi reads the ancient Decalogue
In the grand dialect the Prophets spake.

Gone are the living, but the dead remain,
And not neglected; for a hand unseen,
Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,
Still keeps their graves and their remembrance green.

How came they here? What burst of Christian hate,
What persecution, merciless and blind,
Drove o'er the sea -that desert desolate -
These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind?

They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure,
Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire;
Taught in the school of patience to endure
The life of anguish and the death of fire.

All their lives long, with the unleavened bread
And bitter herbs of exile and its fears,
The wasting famine of the heart they fed,
And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears.

Anathema maranatha! was the cry
That rang from town to town, from street to street:
At every gate the accursed Mordecai
Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by Christian feet.

Pride and humiliation hand in hand
Walked with them through the world where'er they went;
Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,
And yet unshaken as the continent.

For in the background figures vague and vast
Of patriarchs and of prophets rose sublime,
And all the great traditions of the Past
They saw reflected in the coming time.

And thus forever with reverted look
The mystic volume of the world they read,
Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,
Till life became a Legend of the Dead.

But ah! what once has been shall be no more!
The groaning earth in travail and in pain
Brings forth its races, but does not restore,
And the dead nations never rise again.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Le Guignon (Ill-Starred)

Pour soulever un poids si lourd,
Sisyphe, il faudrait ton courage!
Bien qu'on ait du coeur à l'ouvrage,
L'Art est long et le Temps est court.

Loin des sépultures célèbres,
Vers un cimetière isolé,
Mon coeur, comme un tambour voilé,
Va battant des marches funèbres.

— Maint joyau dort enseveli
Dans les ténèbres et l'oubli,
Bien loin des pioches et des sondes;

Mainte fleur épanche à regret
Son parfum doux comme un secret
Dans les solitudes profondes.


Evil Fate

To lift a weight so heavy,
Would take your courage, Sisyphus!
Although one's heart is in the work,
Art is long and Time is short.

Far from famous sepulchers
Toward a lonely cemetery
My heart, like muffled drums,
Goes beating funeral marches.

Many a jewel lies buried
In darkness and oblivion,
Far, far away from picks and drills;

Many a flower regretfully
Exhales perfume soft as secrets
In a profound solitude.


— Translated by William Aggeler

Ill Luck

So huge a burden to support
Your courage, Sisyphus, would ask;
Well though my heart attacks its task,
Yet Art is long and Time is short.

Far from the famed memorial arch
Towards a lonely grave I come.
My heart in its funereal march
Goes beating like a muffled drum.

— Yet many a gem lies hidden still
Of whom no pick-axe, spade, or drill
The lonely secrecy invades;

And many a flower, to heal regret,
Pours forth its fragrant secret yet
Amidst the solitary shades.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

Ill-Starred

A man would needs be brave and strong
As Sisyphus, for such a task!
It is not greater zeal I ask —
But life is brief, and art is long.

To a forsaken mound of clay
Where no admirers ever come,
My heart, like an invisible drum,
Goes beating a dead march all day.

Many a jewel of untold worth
Lies slumbering at the core of earth,
In darkness and oblivion drowned;

Many a flower has bloomed and spent
The secret of its passionate scent
Upon the wilderness profound.


— Translated by George Dillon

Ill-Starred

To bear a weight that cannot be borne,
Sisyphus, even you aren't that strong,
Although your heart cannot be torn
Time is short and Art is long.
Far from celebrated sepulchers
Toward a solitary graveyard
My heart, like a drum muffled hard
Beats a funeral march for the ill-starred.

—Many jewels are buried or shrouded
In darkness and oblivion's clouds,
Far from any pick or drill bit,

Many a flower unburdens with regret
Its perfume sweet like a secret;
In profoundly empty solitude to sit.


Translated by William A. Sigler

by Charles Baudelaire.

When they thought that Denmark's king
Soundly in the graveyard slumbered,
Words incredible, unnumbered,
Through the land crept whispering.

Rumor said: 'The king hunts nightly
Stag and doe on Sjaelland's isle
With a company unsightly
Through the country mile on mile.'

They saw the Childe at the head of his hosts;
In the moonlight they heard the racket
Of his train of terrible shadows and ghosts
With the hawk and the sable brachet.

Fables deep in Time's abyss
From oblivion resurrected,
Champions in their rest ejected
From the dim necropolis,

Women from their hidden prison,
Heathen kings from the sepulchre,
All (the peasants said) had risen
Forth to ride with Valdemar.

Like wings the sound over woods was borne,
In terror the dwarf dug deeper,
While overhead a mad hunting-horn
Aroused the horrified sleeper.

Volmer's eyes with anguish blazed,
Never found he rest and quiet;
Ever in this awful riot
Must he hurry on half-crazed.

Nearest him, of all the shadows
Coursing over lake and glade
Through the night-mist of the meadows,
Was a pale and slender maid.

Her long hair flickered in the midnight blast,
She sighed with sighs inhuman;
On snow-white horse she galloped fast,
The fairest of all women.

Over castle and lofty house,
Falcon, raven, birds of evil,
Unknown fowl from Night primeval,
Fat, enormous flittermouse,

Over forests, fields, and ditches,
Clustering pallid flare on flare,
Wolves with hundred feet, and witches
Sailed the river of the air.

The hunters' shouts, the thunders' crash,
Roared high in the lust of slaughter,
Through horses' whinnies, the snap of the lash,
Above the livid water.

Just before them, roe and hart
Flew as if on hidden pinions
From the ghost-king and his minions,
Cleaving the slow mists apart.

At their head there flitted, leading,
Tall and white, a wounded hind
Stuck with many arrows, bleeding,
Shaking, in the midnight wind.

The peasants who saw the chase sweep by
Swore, to all who would hear it,
That out of the hunted hind's wild eye
There peered Queen Helvig's spirit.

As in an enchanted space,
Trees stood in the vapor rootless,
While the stag flew onward, footless
Yet unwearied by the chase.

Then the black snake coursed the meadow,
The red dragon rose unwombed,
While the storm wailed like a shadow
To eternal anguish doomed.

The full moon, like a bleeding troll,
Unheeding the earth's ire,
Cruelly charmed each tortured soul
From out the Abyss's fire.

Often when the autumn brought
Wheeling gusts of phosphorescence
In this dismal chase, the peasants
Whispered, pallid and distraught:

'Save us, Christ and Maid of Heaven,
From this evil by thy grace !
Save us from the infernal levin;
Save us: 'tis King Volmer's chase!'

They thought that his doom was sealed for aye,
By no prayers to be diminished:
To hunt until the last Judgment Day,
Till World and Time were finished.

by Johannes Carsten Hauch.

Do you remember that June day among
The hills, the high, far-reaching Sussex hills?
Above, the straggling flocks of fleecy clouds
That skipped and chased each other merrily
In God's warm pasturage, the azure sky;
Below, the hills that stretched their mighty heads
As though they fain would neighbor with that sky.
Deep, vivid green, save where the flocks showed white;
The wise ewes hiding from the glow of noon
In shady spots, the short-wooled lambs at play,
And over all the stillness of the hills,
The sweet and solemn stillness of the hills.

The shepherds gave us just such looks of mild
Surprise as did the sheep they shepherded.
'Ye are not of the hills,' so said the looks,
'Not of our kind, but strangers come from out
The busy, bustling world to taste the sweets
Of silence and of peace. We wish you well.'
In eager quest of what the hills might hide,
Some valley of content, some spring of youth,
Some deep, enchanted dell filled to the brim
With subtle mysteries, allurement rare,
We followed down a path, a little crooked,
Wand'ring path that lost itself and found itself
So oft we knew it for the playmate of the stream
That went with us and sang a clamorous song-
A never-ending song of flock and fold
Of sea-mist and of sun-until at length
We came into a valley warm and wide,
A cradle 'mong the hills. In it there lay
No infant hamlet, but one gray and old
That dozed and dreamed the soft June hours away.

Gardens there were with fragrant wall-flowers filled,
And daffodils, and rhododendrons pale,
And sweet, old-fashioned pinks, phlox, rosemary;
An avenue of elms, with cottages,
And barefoot children sporting on the green.
''Tis Poynings,' said the rustic, 'see, the church
Lies yonder, and the graveyard just beyond;
This path will lead you straight to it.'

Do you remember-rather, will you e'er forget?-
That gray church built, how many centuries
Ago? The worn stone steps, the oaken door,
The crumbling walls, the altar carved,
The stories told by stained-glass windows set
Deep in the walls; the ivy, thick and green,
Which crept and hid the grayness quite from sight.
Within, the smell of roses from the sheaf
Of scarlet bloom before the altar laid,
Close mingled with the mould and must of age;
On wall and floor memorials to the dead,
Who, unafraid, had slumbered there so long.

And then the graveyard out among the trees-
No graveyard, but a garden, flower filled-
Moss roses white as moth wings in the night,
And lilies sorrowful but very sweet,
Low-growing violets in grasses hid,
And rue which spoke of some heart's bitterness.
Old Time had decked the stones with lichens rare,
Rubbed out with careless hand the lettering:
In memory of someone's life and love
Each stood, but whose we might not know.

And while we lingered in the perfumed gloom,
And watched the golden sunshine smite the hills,
An English blackbird straight began a song
So sweet, so high, so shrill, so wondrous clear,
That! listening, our eyes grew dim the while
Our hearts did thrill. Whoe'er has heard the song
An English blackbird carols forth in June
Knows well the power it has, the wondrous charm!
Strangers were we within the gates, and so
He gave us welcome, clearer, warmer still,
A welcome to the beauty and the bloom,
The silence of the churchyard old and gray,
A welcome to the grasses and the brook,
The shade of feathery elm trees, and the glow
Of sunlight quivering, golden on the sward,
A welcome to the valley dim, and to
The hills, the high, far-reaching Sussex hills.

by Jean Blewett.

Sermon In A Churchyard

Let pious Damon take his seat,
With mincing step and languid smile,
And scatter from his 'kerchief sweet,
Sabaean odours o'er the aisle;
And spread his little jewelled hand,
And smile round all the parish beauties,
And pat his curls, and smooth his band,
Meet prelude to his saintly duties.

Let the thronged audience press and stare,
Let stifled maidens ply the fan,
Admire his doctrines, and his hair,
And whisper, "What a good young man!"
While he explains what seems most clear,
So clearly that it seems perplexed,
I'll stay and read my sermon here;
And skulls, and bones, shall be the text.

Art thou the jilted dupe of fame?
Dost thou with jealous anger pine
Whene'er she sounds some other name,
With fonder emphasis than thine?
To thee I preach; draw near; attend!
Look on these bones, thou fool, and see
Where all her scorns and favours end,
What Byron is, and thou must be.

Dost thou revere, or praise, or trust
Some clod like those that here we spurn;
Some thing that sprang like thee from dust,
And shall like thee to dust return?
Dost thou rate statesmen, heroes, wits,
At one sear leaf, or wandering feather?
Behold the black, damp narrow pits,
Where they and thou must lie together.

Dost thou beneath the smile or frown
Of some vain woman bend thy knee?
Here take thy stand, and trample down
Things that were once as fair as she.
Here rave of her ten thousand graces,
Bosom, and lip, and eye, and chin,
While, as in scorn, the fleshless faces
Of Hamiltons and Waldegraves grin.

Whate'er thy losses or thy gains,
Whate'er thy projects or thy fears,
Whate'er the joys, whate'er the pains,
That prompt thy baby smiles and tears;
Come to my school, and thou shalt learn,
In one short hour of placid thought,
A stoicism, more deep, more stern,
Than ever Zeno's porch hath taught.

The plots and feats of those that press
To seize on titles, wealth, or power,
Shall seem to thee a game of chess,
Devised to pass a tedious hour.
What matters it to him who fights
For shows of unsubstantial good,
Whether his Kings, and Queens, and Knights,
Be things of flesh, or things of wood?

We check, and take; exult, and fret;
Our plans extend, our passions rise,
Till in our ardour we forget
How worthless is the victor's prize.
Soon fades the spell, soon comes the night:
Say will it not be then the same,
Whether we played the black or white,
Whether we lost or won the game?

Dost thou among these hillocks stray,
O'er some dear idol's tomb to moan?
Know that thy foot is on the clay
Of hearts once wretched as thy own.
How many a father's anxious schemes,
How many rapturous thoughts of lovers,
How many a mother's cherished dreams,
The swelling turf before thee covers!

Here for the living, and the dead,
The weepers and the friends they weep,
Hath been ordained the same cold bed,
The same dark night, the same long sleep;
Why shouldest thou writhe, and sob, and rave
O'er those with whom thou soon must be?
Death his own sting shall cure--the grave
Shall vanquish its own victory.

Here learn that all the griefs and joys,
Which now torment, which now beguile,
Are children's hurts, and children's toys,
Scarce worthy of one bitter smile.
Here learn that pulpit, throne, and press,
Sword, sceptre, lyre, alike are frail,
That science is a blind man's guess,
And History a nurse's tale.

Here learn that glory and disgrace,
Wisdom and folly, pass away,
That mirth hath its appointed space,
That sorrow is but for a day;
That all we love, and all we hate,
That all we hope, and all we fear,
Each mood of mind, each turn of fate,
Must end in dust and silence here.

by Thomas Babbington Macaulay.

Pluviôse, irrité contre la ville entière,
De son urne à grands flots verse un froid ténébreux
Aux pâles habitants du voisin cimetière
Et la mortalité sur les faubourgs brumeux.

Mon chat sur le carreau cherchant une litière
Agite sans repos son corps maigre et galeux;
L'âme d'un vieux poète erre dans la gouttière
Avec la triste voix d'un fantôme frileux.

Le bourdon se lamente, et la bûche enfumée
Accompagne en fausset la pendule enrhumée
Cependant qu'en un jeu plein de sales parfums,

Héritage fatal d'une vieille hydropique,
Le beau valet de coeur et la dame de pique
Causent sinistrement de leurs amours défunts.

--------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------
Spleen

January, irritated with the whole city,
Pours from his urn great waves of gloomy cold
On the pale occupants of the nearby graveyard
And death upon the foggy slums.

My cat seeking a bed on the tiled floor
Shakes his thin, mangy body ceaselessly;
The soul of an old poet wanders in the rain-pipe
With the sad voice of a shivering ghost.

The great bell whines, the smoking log
Accompanies in falsetto the snuffling clock,
While in a deck of cards reeking of filthy scents,

My mortal heritage from some dropsical old woman,
The handsome knave of hearts and the queen of spades
Converse sinisterly of their dead love affair.


— Translated by William Aggeler

---------------------------------- -------------------------------------------
Spleen

The Month of Rains, incensed at life, outpours
Out of her urn, a dark chill, like a penance,
Over the graveyards and their wan, grey tenants
And folk in foggy suburbs out of doors.

My cat seeks out a litter on the ground
Twitching her scrawny body flecked with mange.
The soul of some old poet seems to range
The gutter, with a chill phantasmal sound.

The big bell tolls: damp hearth-logs seem to mock,
Whistling, the sniffle-snuffle of the clock,
While in the play of odours stale with must,

Reminders of a dropsical old crone,
The knave of hearts and queen of spades alone
Darkly discuss a passion turned to dust.

— Translated by Roy Campbell

--------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------

Late January

Pluviose, hating all that lives, and loathing me,
Distills his cold and gloomy rain and slops it down
Upon the pallid lodgers in the cemetery
Next door, and on the people shopping in the town.

My cat, for sheer discomfort, waves a sparsely-furred
And shabby tail incessantly on the tiled floor;
And, wandering sadly in the rain-spout, can be heard
The voice of some dead poet who had these rooms before.

The log is wet, and smokes; its hissing high lament
Mounts to the bronchial clock on the cracked mantel there;
While (heaven knows whose they were — some dropsical old maid's)

In a soiled pack of cards that reeks of dirty scent,
The handsome jack of hearts and the worn queen of spades
Talk in suggestive tones of their old love-affair.

— Translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay

----------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------< br>
Spleen

November, vexed with all the capital,
whelms in a death-chill from her gloomy urn
the cold pale dead beneath the graveyard wall,
the death-doomed who in dripping houses yearn.

Grimalkin prowls, a gaunt and scurvy ghoul,
seeking a softer lair for her sojourn;
along the eaves an ancient poet's soul
shivers and wails, a ghost no eyes discern.

the whining church-bell and the log a-sputter
repeat the rheumy clock's falsetto mutter;
while in a pack of cards, scent-filled and vile,

grim relic of a dropsical old maid,
the queen of spades and knave of hearts parade
their dead amours, with many an evil smile.

— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks

by Charles Baudelaire.

The Cambridge Churchyard

Our ancient church! its lowly tower,
Beneath the loftier spire,
Is shadowed when the sunset hour
Clothes the tall shaft in fire;
It sinks beyond the distant eye
Long ere the glittering vane,
High wheeling in the western sky,
Has faded o’er the plain.

Like Sentinel and Nun, they keep
Their vigil on the green;
One seems to guard, and one to weep,
The dead that lie between;
And both roll out, so full and near,
Their music’s mingling waves,
They shake the grass, whose pennoned spear
Leans on the narrow graves.

The stranger parts the flaunting weeds,
Whose seeds the winds have strown
So thick, beneath the line he reads,
They shade the sculptured stone;
The child unveils his clustered brow,
And ponders for a while
The graven willow’s pendent bough,
Or rudest cherub’s smile.

But what to them the dirge, the knell?
These were the mourner’s share,—­
The sullen clang, whose heavy swell
Throbbed through the beating air;
The rattling cord, the rolling stone,
The shelving sand that slid,
And, far beneath, with hollow tone
Rung on the coffin’s lid.

The slumberer’s mound grows fresh and green,
Then slowly disappears;
The mosses creep, the gray stones lean,
Earth hides his date and years;
But, long before the once-loved name
Is sunk or worn away,
No lip the silent dust may claim,
That pressed the breathing clay.

Go where the ancient pathway guides,
See where our sires laid down
Their smiling babes, their cherished brides,
The patriarchs of the town;
Hast thou a tear for buried love?
A sigh for transient power?
All that a century left above,
Go, read it in an hour!

The Indian’s shaft, the Briton’s ball,
The sabre’s thirsting edge,
The hot shell, shattering in its fall,
The bayonet’s rending wedge,—­
Here scattered death; yet, seek the spot,
No trace thine eye can see,
No altar,—­and they need it not
Who leave their children free!

Look where the turbid rain-drops stand
In many a chiselled square;
The knightly crest, the shield, the brand
Of honored names were there;—­
Alas! for every tear is dried
Those blazoned tablets knew,
Save when the icy marble’s side
Drips with the evening dew.

Or gaze upon yon pillared stone,
The empty urn of pride;
There stand the Goblet and the Sun,—­
What need of more beside?
Where lives the memory of the dead,
Who made their tomb a toy?
Whose ashes press that nameless bed?
Go, ask the village boy!

Lean o’er the slender western wall,
Ye ever-roaming girls;
The breath that bids the blossom fall
May lift your floating curls,
To sweep the simple lines that tell
An exile’s date and doom;
And sigh, for where his daughters dwell,
They wreathe the stranger’s tomb.

And one amid these shades was born,
Beneath this turf who lies,
Once beaming as the summer’s morn,
That closed her gentle eyes;
If sinless angels love as we,
Who stood thy grave beside,
Three seraph welcomes waited thee,
The daughter, sister, bride.

I wandered to thy buried mound
When earth was hid below
The level of the glaring ground,
Choked to its gates with snow,
And when with summer’s flowery waves
The lake of verdure rolled,
As if a Sultan’s white-robed slaves
Had scattered pearls and gold.

Nay, the soft pinions of the air,
That lift this trembling tone,
Its breath of love may almost bear
To kiss thy funeral stone;
And, now thy smiles have passed away,
For all the joy they gave,
May sweetest dews and warmest ray
Lie on thine early grave!

When damps beneath and storms above
Have bowed these fragile towers,
Still o’er the graves yon locust grove
Shall swing its Orient flowers;
And I would ask no mouldering bust,
If e’er this humble line,
Which breathed a sigh o’er other’s dust,
Might call a tear on mine.

by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

A Poem. Dedication Of The Pittsfield Cemetery

ANGEL of Death! extend thy silent reign!
Stretch thy dark sceptre o’er this new domain
No sable car along the winding road
Has borne to earth its unresisting load;
No sudden mound has risen yet to show
Where the pale slumberer folds his arms below;
No marble gleams to bid his memory live
In the brief lines that hurrying Time can give;
Yet, O Destroyer! from thy shrouded throne
Look on our gift; this realm is all thine own!

Fair is the scene; its sweetness oft beguiled
From their dim paths the children of the wild;
The dark-haired maiden loved its grassy dells,
The feathered warrior claimed its wooded swells,
Still on its slopes the ploughman’s ridges show
The pointed flints that left his fatal bow,
Chipped with rough art and slow barbarian toil,—­
Last of his wrecks that strews the alien soil!
Here spread the fields that heaped their ripened store
Till the brown arms of Labor held no more;
The scythe’s broad meadow with its dusky blush;
The sickle’s harvest with its velvet flush;
The green-haired maize, her silken tresses laid,
In soft luxuriance, on her harsh brocade;
The gourd that swells beneath her tossing plume;
The coarser wheat that rolls in lakes of bloom,—­
Its coral stems and milk-white flowers alive
With the wide murmurs of the scattered hive;
Here glowed the apple with the pencilled streak
Of morning painted on its southern cheek;
The pear’s long necklace strung with golden drops,
Arched, like the banian, o’er its pillared props;
Here crept the growths that paid the laborer’s care
With the cheap luxuries wealth consents to spare;
Here sprang the healing herbs which could not save
The hand that reared them from the neighboring grave.

Yet all its varied charms, forever free
From task and tribute, Labor yields to thee
No more, when April sheds her fitful rain,
The sower’s hand shall cast its flying grain;
No more, when Autumn strews the flaming leaves,
The reaper’s band shall gird its yellow sheaves;
For thee alike the circling seasons flow
Till the first blossoms heave the latest snow.
In the stiff clod below the whirling drifts,
In the loose soil the springing herbage lifts,
In the hot dust beneath the parching weeds,
Life’s withering flower shall drop its shrivelled seeds;
Its germ entranced in thy unbreathing sleep
Till what thou sowest mightier angels reap!

Spirit of Beauty! let thy graces blend
With loveliest Nature all that Art can lend.
Come from the bowers where Summer’s life-blood flows
Through the red lips of June’s half-open rose,
Dressed in bright hues, the loving sunshine’s dower;
For tranquil Nature owns no mourning flower.
Come from the forest where the beech’s screen
Bars the fierce moonbeam with its flakes of green;
Stay the rude axe that bares the shadowy plains,
Stanch the deep wound That dries the maple’s veins.
Come with the stream whose silver-braided rills
Fling their unclasping bracelets from the hills,
Till in one gleam, beneath the forest’s wings,
Melts the white glitter of a hundred springs.
Come from the steeps where look majestic forth
From their twin thrones the Giants of the North
On the huge shapes, that, crouching at their knees,
Stretch their broad shoulders, rough with shaggy trees.
Through the wide waste of ether, not in vain,
Their softened gaze shall reach our distant plain;
There, while the mourner turns his aching eyes
On the blue mounds that print the bluer skies,
Nature shall whisper that the fading view
Of mightiest grief may wear a heavenly hue.
Cherub of Wisdom! let thy marble page
Leave its sad lesson, new to every age;
Teach us to live, not grudging every breath
To the chill winds that waft us on to death,
But ruling calmly every pulse it warms,
And tempering gently every word it forms.
Seraph of Love! in heaven’s adoring zone,
Nearest of all around the central throne,
While with soft hands the pillowed turf we spread
That soon shall hold us in its dreamless bed,
With the low whisper,—­Who shall first be laid
In the dark chamber’s yet unbroken shade?—­
Let thy sweet radiance shine rekindled here,
And all we cherish grow more truly dear.
Here in the gates of Death’s o’erhanging vault,
Oh, teach us kindness for our brother’s fault
Lay all our wrongs beneath this peaceful sod,
And lead our hearts to Mercy and its God.

FATHER of all! in Death’s relentless claim
We read thy mercy by its sterner name;
In the bright flower that decks the solemn bier,
We see thy glory in its narrowed sphere;
In the deep lessons that affliction draws,
We trace the curves of thy encircling laws;
In the long sigh that sets our spirits free,
We own the love that calls us back to Thee!

Through the hushed street, along the silent plain,
The spectral future leads its mourning train,
Dark with the shadows of uncounted bands,
Where man’s white lips and woman’s wringing hands
Track the still burden, rolling slow before,
That love and kindness can protect no more;
The smiling babe that, called to mortal strife,
Shuts its meek eyes and drops its little life;
The drooping child who prays in vain to live,
And pleads for help its parent cannot give;
The pride of beauty stricken in its flower;
The strength of manhood broken in an hour;
Age in its weakness, bowed by toil and care,
Traced in sad lines beneath its silvered hair.

The sun shall set, and heaven’s resplendent spheres
Gild the smooth turf unhallowed yet by tears,
But ah! how soon the evening stars will shed
Their sleepless light around the slumbering dead!

Take them, O Father, in immortal trust!
Ashes to ashes, dust to kindred dust,
Till the last angel rolls the stone away,
And a new morning brings eternal day!

by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard

The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Memory o'er their Tomb no Trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village Hampden that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their glowing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed Swain may say,
'Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

'There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.

'One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

'The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn:'

THE EPITAPH

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear,
He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

by Thomas Gray.

J'ai plus de souvenirs que si j'avais mille ans.

Un gros meuble à tiroirs encombré de bilans,
De vers, de billets doux, de procès, de romances,
Avec de lourds cheveux roulés dans des quittances,
Cache moins de secrets que mon triste cerveau.
C'est une pyramide, un immense caveau,
Qui contient plus de morts que la fosse commune.
— Je suis un cimetière abhorré de la lune,
Où comme des remords se traînent de longs vers
Qui s'acharnent toujours sur mes morts les plus chers.
Je suis un vieux boudoir plein de roses fanées,
Où gît tout un fouillis de modes surannées,
Où les pastels plaintifs et les pâles Boucher
Seuls, respirent l'odeur d'un flacon débouché.

Rien n'égale en longueur les boiteuses journées,
Quand sous les lourds flocons des neigeuses années
L'ennui, fruit de la morne incuriosité,
Prend les proportions de l'immortalité.
— Désormais tu n'es plus, ô matière vivante!
Qu'un granit entouré d'une vague épouvante,
Assoupi dans le fond d'un Sahara brumeux;
Un vieux sphinx ignoré du monde insoucieux,
Oublié sur la carte, et dont l'humeur farouche
Ne chante qu'aux rayons du soleil qui se couche.

---------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------

Spleen

I have more memories than if I'd lived a thousand years.

A heavy chest of drawers cluttered with balance-sheets,
Processes, love-letters, verses, ballads,
And heavy locks of hair enveloped in receipts,
Hides fewer secrets than my gloomy brain.
It is a pyramid, a vast burial vault
Which contains more corpses than potter's field.
— I am a cemetery abhorred by the moon,
In which long worms crawl like remorse
And constantly harass my dearest dead.
I am an old boudoir full of withered roses,
Where lies a whole litter of old-fashioned dresses,
Where the plaintive pastels and the pale Bouchers,
Alone, breathe in the fragrance from an opened phial.

Nothing is so long as those limping days,
When under the heavy flakes of snowy years
Ennui, the fruit of dismal apathy,
Becomes as large as immortality.
— Henceforth you are no more, O living matter!
Than a block of granite surrounded by vague terrors,
Dozing in the depths of a hazy Sahara
An old sphinx ignored by a heedless world,
Omitted from the map, whose savage nature
Sings only in the rays of a setting sun.

— Translated by William Aggeler

---------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------

Spleen

I have more memories than had I seen
Ten centuries. A huge chest that has been
Stuffed full of writs, bills, verses, balance-sheets
With golden curls wrapt up in old receipts
And love-letters — hides less than my sad brain,
A pyramid, a vault that must contain
More corpses than the public charnel stores.

I am a cemetery the moon abhors,
Where, like remorses, the long worms that trail
Always the dearest of my dead assail.
I am a boudoir full of faded roses
Where many an old outmoded dress reposes
And faded pastels and pale Bouchers only
Breathe a scent-flask, long-opened and left lonely...

Nothing can match those limping days for length
Where under snows of years, grown vast in strength,
Boredom (of listlessness the pale abortion)
Of immortality takes the proportion!
— From henceforth, living matter, you are nought
But stone surrounded by a dreadful thought:
Lost in some dim Sahara, an old Sphinx,
Of whom the world we live in never thinks.
Lost on the map, it is its surly way
Only to sing in sunset's fading ray.

— Translated by Roy Campbell

--------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------- -

Spleen

Were I ten centuries old, could I remember more?

A weighty chest of drawers, crammed with a random store
Of poems, billets-doux, writs, songs, balance sheets,
And heavy skeins of hair rolled up in old receipts,
Hides fewer secrets, surely, than my sorry brain,
A pyramid and vault, whose corridors contain
More corpses than the potter's field, or late or soon.
A graveyard, I, abominated by the moon,
Where, like a viscous worm, remorse thrusts out his head
To strike forever at my most beloved dead.
I am an ancient boudoir filled with faded roses
In which a ruck of long-outmoded gowns reposes,
Where pastels all too sad and Bouchers all too pale
Alone breathe in the scents that uncorked flasks exhale.


Nothing can be so long as days, limping and drear,
Under the heavy flakes of year on snowy year,
When ennui, fruit of dismal incuriosity,
Assumes the fearful scope of immortality.
— Henceforth you are no more, O mind, O living matter!
Than a cold granite block which unknown terrors spatter,
Dozing deep in the wastes of a Saharan daze,
An ancient Sphinx unknown of our indifferent days,
Omitted from all maps, a lonely savage one
Who can sing only at the setting of the sun.

— Translated by Jacques LeClercq

--------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------- -

The Sphinx

I swear to you that if I lived a thousand years
I could not be more crammed with dubious souvenirs.

There's no old chest of drawers bulging with deeds and bills,
Love-letters, locks of hair, novels, bad verses, wills,
That hides so many secrets as my wretched head; —
It's like a mausoleum, like a pyramid,
Holding more heaped unpleasant bones than Potter's Field;
I am a graveyard hated by the moon; revealed
Never by her blue light are those long worms that force
Into my dearest dead their blunt snouts of remorse.
— am an old boudoir, where roses dried and brown
Have given their dusty odor to the faded gown,
To the ridiculous hat, doubtless in other days
So fine, among the wan pastels and pale Bouchers.

Time has gone lame, and limps; and under a thick pall
Of snow the endless years efface and muffle all;
Till boredom, fruit of the mind's inert, incurious tree,
Assumes the shape and size of immortality.

Henceforth, O living matter, you are nothing more
Than the fixed heart of chaos, soft horror's granite core,
Than a forgotten Sphinx that in some desert stands,
Drowsing beneath the heat, half-hidden by the sands,
Unmarked on any map, — whose rude and sullen frown
Lights up a moment only when the sun goes down.

— Translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay

----------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------< br>
Spleen

I hold more memories than a thousand years.

a chest of drawers crammed full of souvenirs,
accounts and love-notes, warrants, verses — where
from bills of sale fall coiling locks of hair —
guards not more secrets than my heart of woe,
a burial-vault whose coffins lie arow,
a potters' field that death has filled too soon.
— I am a graveyard hated by the moon,
where creeping worms trail slowly as remorse,
fiercely destroyed each belovèd corpse.

I am a room where faded roses lie
and gowns of perished fashions multiply,
with none but ladies in pastel to share
the musk from some old jar forgotten there.

no days so lame as all the days I know
while, crushed by years of ever-falling snow,
boredom, dull fruitage of my apathy,
waxes as vast as immortality.

henceforth, o living cells, ye sleep, a womb
faint shudders pierce, a cold grey cliff of doom
lost in a misty desert far away,
— a drowsy sphynx, forgot by all today,
uncharted avatar, whose tameless heart
sounds only when the day's last fires depart.

— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks

by Charles Baudelaire.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

VILLIAM _a Sen_
NEEDLESON _a Sidniduc_
SMILER _a Scheister_
KI-YI _a Trader_
GRIMGHAST _a Spader_
SARALTHIA _a Love-lorn Nymph_
NELLIBRAC _a Sweetun_

A BODY; A GHOST; AN UNMENTIONABLE THING; SKULLS;
HOODOOS; ETC.

_Scene_-a Cemetery in San Francisco.

_Saralthia, Nellibrac, Grimghast._


SARALTHIA:

The red half-moon is dipping to the west,
And the cold fog invades the sleeping land.
Lo! how the grinning skulls in the level light
Litter the place! Methinks that every skull
Is a most lifelike portrait of my Sen,
Drawn by the hand of Death; each fleshless pate,
Cursed with a ghastly grin to eyes unrubbed
With love's magnetic ointment, seems to mine
To smile an amiable smile like his
Whose amiable smile I-I alone
Am able to distinguish from his leer!
See how the gathering coyotes flit
Through the lit spaces, or with burning eyes
Star the black shadows with a steadfast gaze!
About my feet the poddy toads at play,
Bulbously comfortable, try to hop,
And tumble clumsily with all their warts;
While pranking lizards, sliding up and down
My limbs, as they were public roads, impart
A singularly interesting chill.
The circumstance and passion of the time,
The cast and manner of the place-the spirit
Of this confederate environment,
Command the rights we come to celebrate
Obedient to the Inspired Hag-
The seventh daughter of the seventh daughter,
Who rules all destinies from Minna street,
A dollar a destiny. Here at this grave,
Which for my purposes thou, Jack of Spades-
_(To Grimghast_)
Corrupter than the thing that reeks below-
Hast opened secretly, we'll work the charm.
Now what's the hour?
_(Distant clock strikes thirteen_.)
Enough-hale forth the stiff!

_(Grimghast by means of a boat-hook stands the coffin on end
in the excavation; the lid crumbles, exposing the remains of a
man.)_

Ha! Master Mouldybones, how fare you, sir?

THE BODY:

Poorly, I thank your ladyship; I miss
Some certain fingers and an ear or two.
There's something, too, gone wrong with my inside,
And my periphery's not what it was.
How can we serve each other, you and I?

NELLIBRAC:

O what a personable man!

_(Blushes bashfully, drops her eyes and twists the corner of
her apron_.)

SARALTHIA:

Yes, dear,
A very proper and alluring male,
And quite superior to Lubin Rroyd,
Who has, however, this distinct advantage-
He is alive.

GRIMGHAST:

Missus, these yer remains
Was the boss singer back in '72,
And used to allers git invites to go
Down to Swellmont and sing at every feed.
In t'other Villiam's time, that was, afore
The gent that you've hooked onto bought the place.

THE BODY _(singing):_

Down among the sainted dead
Many years I lay;
Beetles occupied my head,
Moles explored my clay.

There we feasted day and night-
I and bug and beast;
They provided appetite
And I supplied the feast.

The raven is a dicky-bird,

SARALTHIA _(singing):_

The jackal is a daisy,

NELLIBRAC _(singing):_

The wall-mouse is a worthy third,

A SPOOK _(singing):_

But mortals all are crazy.

CHORUS OF SKULLS:

O mortals all are crazy,
Their intellects are hazy;
In the growing moon they shake their shoon
And trip it in the mazy.

But when the moon is waning,
Their senses they're regaining:
They fall to prayer and from their hair
Remove the straws remaining.

SARALTHIA:

That's right, Rogues Gallery, pray keep it up:
Your song recalls my Villiam's 'Auld Lang Syne,'
What time he came and (like an amorous bird
That struts before the female of its kind,
Warbling to cave her down the bank) piped high
His cracked falsetto out of reach. Enough-
Now let's to business. Nellibrac, sweet child,
St. Cloacina's future devotee,
The time is ripe and rotten-gut the grip!

_(Nellibrac brings forward a valise and takes from it five
articles of clothing, which, one by one, she lays upon the points
of a magic pentagram that has thoughtfully inscribed itself in
lines of light on the wet grass. The Body holds its late lamented
nose.)_

NELLIBRAC _(singing):_

Fragrant socks, by Villiam's toes
Consecrated to the nose;

Shirt that shows the well worn track
Of the knuckles of his back,

Handkerchief with mottled stains,
Into which he blew his brains;

Collar crying out for soap-
Prophet of the future rope;

An unmentionable thing
It would sicken me to sing.

UNMENTIONABLE THING _(aside):_

What! _I_ unmentionable? Just you wait!
In all the family journals of the State
You'll sometime see that I'm described at length,
With supereditorial grace and strength.

SARALTHIA _(singing):_

Throw them in the open tomb
They will cause his love to bloom
With an amatory boom!

CHORUS OF INVISIBLE HOODOOS:

Hoodoo, hoodoo, voudou-vet
Villiam struggles in the net!
By the power and intent
Of the charm his strength is spent!
By the virtue in each rag
Blessed by the Inspired Hag
He will be a willing victim
Limp as if a donkey kicked him!
By this awful incantation
We decree his animation-

By the magic of our art
Warm the cockles of his heart,
Villiam, if alive or dead,
Thou Saralthia shalt wed!

_(They cast the garments into the grave and push over the
coffin. Grimghast fills up the hole. Hoodoos gradually become
apparent in a phosphorescent light about the grave, holding one
another's back-hair and dancing in a circle.)_

HOODOO SONG AND DANCE:

O we're the larrikin hoodoos!
The chirruping, lirruping hoodoos!
We mix things up that the Fates ordain,
Bring back the past and the present detain,
Postpone the future and sometimes tether
The three and drive them abreast together-
We rollicking, frolicking hoodoos!

To us all things are the same as none
And nothing is that is under the sun.
Seven's a dozen and never is then,
Whether is what and what is when,
A man is a tree and a cuckoo a cow
For gold galore and silver enow
To magical, mystical hoodoos!

SARALTHIA:

What monstrous shadow darkens all the place,

_(Enter Smyler.)_

Flung like a doom athwart-ha!-thou?
Portentous presence, art thou not the same
That stalks with aspect horrible among
Small youths and maidens, baring snaggy teeth,
Champing their tender limbs till crimson spume,
Flung from, thy lips in cursing God and man,
Incarnadines the land?

SMYLER:

Thou dammid slut!

_(Exit Smyler.)_

NELLIBRAC:

O what a pretty man!

SARALTHIA

Now who is next?
Of tramps and casuals this graveyard seems
Prolific to a fault!

_(Enter Needleson, exhaling, prophetically, an odor of decayed
eggs and, actually, one of unlaundried linen. He darts an
intense regard at an adjacent marble angel and places his open
hand behind his ear.)_

NEEDLESON:

Hay?
_(Exit Needleson.)_

NELLIBRAC:

Sweet, sweet male!
I yearn to play at Copenhagen with him!

_(Blushes diligently and energetically.)_

CHORUS OF SKULLS:

Hoodoos, hoodoos, disappear-
Some dread deity draws near!

_(Exeunt Hoodos.)_

Smitten with a sense of doom,
The dead are cowering in the tomb,
Seas are calling, stars are falling
And appalling is the gloom!
Fragmentary flames are flung
Through the air the trees among!
Lo! each hill inclines its head-
Earth is bending 'neath his thread!

_(On the contrary, enter Villiam on a chip, navigating an
odor of mignonette. Saralthia springs forward to put him in
her pocket, but he is instantly retracted by an invisible string.
She falls headlong, breaking her heart. Reenter Villiam,
Needleson, Smyler. All gather about Saralthia, who loudly
laments her accident. The Spirit of Tar-and Feathers, rising
like a black smoke in their midst, executes a monstrous wink of
graphic and vivid significance, then contemplates them with an
obviously baptismal intention. The cross on Lone Mountain
takes fire, splendoring the Peninsula. Tableau. Curtain.)

by Ambrose Bierce.

The Graveyard By The Sea

This quiet roof, where dove-sails saunter by,
Between the pines, the tombs, throbs visibly.
Impartial noon patterns the sea in flame --
That sea forever starting and re-starting.
When thought has had its hour, oh how rewarding
Are the long vistas of celestial calm!
What grace of light, what pure toil goes to form
The manifold diamond of the elusive foam!
What peace I feel begotten at that source!
When sunlight rests upon a profound sea,
Time's air is sparkling, dream is certainty --
Pure artifice both of an eternal Cause.

Sure treasure, simple shrine to intelligence,
Palpable calm, visible reticence,
Proud-lidded water, Eye wherein there wells
Under a film of fire such depth of sleep --
O silence! . . . Mansion in my soul, you slope
Of gold, roof of a myriad golden tiles.

Temple of time, within a brief sigh bounded,
To this rare height inured I climb, surrounded
By the horizons of a sea-girt eye.
And, like my supreme offering to the gods,
That peaceful coruscation only breeds
A loftier indifference on the sky.

Even as a fruit's absorbed in the enjoying,
Even as within the mouth its body dying
Changes into delight through dissolution,
So to my melted soul the heavens declare
All bounds transfigured into a boundless air,
And I breathe now my future's emanation.

Beautiful heaven, true heaven, look how I change!
After such arrogance, after so much strange
Idleness -- strange, yet full of potency --
I am all open to these shining spaces;
Over the homes of the dead my shadow passes,
Ghosting along -- a ghost subduing me.
My soul laid bare to your midsummer fire,
O just, impartial light whom I admire,

Whose arms are merciless, you have I stayed
And give back, pure, to your original place.
Look at yourself . . . But to give light implies
No less a somber moiety of shade.

Oh, for myself alone, mine, deep within
At the heart's quick, the poem's fount, between
The void and its pure issue, I beseech
The intimations of my secret power.
O bitter, dark, and echoing reservoir
Speaking of depths always beyond my reach.

But know you -- feigning prisoner of the boughs,
Gulf which cats up their slender prison-bars,
Secret which dazzles though mine eyes are closed --
What body drags me to its lingering end,
What mind draws it to this bone-peopled ground?
A star broods there on all that I have lost.

Closed, hallowed, full of insubstantial fire,
Morsel of earth to heaven's light given o'er --
This plot, ruled by its flambeaux, pleases me --
A place all gold, stone, and dark wood, where shudders
So much marble above so many shadows:
And on my tombs, asleep, the faithful sea.

Keep off the idolaters, bright watch-dog, while --
A solitary with the shepherd's smile --
I pasture long my sheep, my mysteries,
My snow-white flock of undisturbed graves!
Drive far away from here the careful doves,
The vain daydreams, the angels' questioning eyes!

Now present here, the future takes its time.
The brittle insect scrapes at the dry loam;
All is burnt up, used up, drawn up in air
To some ineffably rarefied solution . . .
Life is enlarged, drunk with annihilation,
And bitterness is sweet, and the spirit clear.

The dead lie easy, hidden in earth where they
Are warmed and have their mysteries burnt away.
Motionless noon, noon aloft in the blue
Broods on itself -- a self-sufficient theme.
O rounded dome and perfect diadem,


I am what's changing secretly in you.

I am the only medium for your fears.
My penitence, my doubts, my baulked desires --
These are the flaw within your diamond pride . . .
But in their heavy night, cumbered with marble,
Under the roots of trees a shadow people
Has slowly now come over to your side.
To an impervious nothingness they're thinned,
For the red clay has swallowed the white kind;
Into the flowers that gift of life has passed.
Where are the dead? -- their homely turns of speech,
The personal grace, the soul informing each?
Grubs thread their way where tears were once composed.

The bird-sharp cries of girls whom love is teasing,
The eyes, the teeth, the eyelids moistly closing,
The pretty breast that gambles with the flame,
The crimson blood shining when lips are yielded,
The last gift, and the fingers that would shield it --
All go to earth, go back into the game.

And you, great soul, is there yet hope in you
To find some dream without the lying hue
That gold or wave offers to fleshly eyes?
Will you be singing still when you're thin air?
All perishes. A thing of flesh and pore
Am I. Divine impatience also dies.

Lean immortality, all crêpe and gold,
Laurelled consoler frightening to behold,
Death is a womb, a mother's breast, you feign
The fine illusion, oh the pious trick!
Who does not know them, and is not made sick
That empty skull, that everlasting grin?

Ancestors deep down there, 0 derelict heads
Whom such a weight of spaded earth o'erspreads,
Who are the earth, in whom our steps are lost,
The real flesh-eater, worm unanswerable
Is not for you that sleep under the table:
Life is his meat, and I am still his host.

'Love,' shall we call him? 'Hatred of self,' maybe?
His secret tooth is so intimate with me
That any name would suit him well enough,
Enough that he can see, will, daydream, touch --
My flesh delights him, even upon my couch
I live but as a morsel of his life.

Zeno, Zeno, cruel philosopher Zeno,
Have you then pierced me with your feathered arrow
That hums and flies, yet does not fly! The sounding
Shaft gives me life, the arrow kills. Oh, sun! --
Oh, what a tortoise-shadow to outrun
My soul, Achilles' giant stride left standing!

No, no! Arise! The future years unfold.
Shatter, O body, meditation's mould!
And, O my breast, drink in the wind's reviving!
A freshness, exhalation of the sea,
Restores my soul . . . Salt-breathing potency!
Let's run at the waves and be hurled back to living!

Yes, mighty sea with such wild frenzies gifted
(The panther skin and the rent chlamys), sifted
All over with sun-images that glisten,
Creature supreme, drunk on your own blue flesh,
Who in a tumult like the deepest hush
Bite at your sequin-glittering tail -- yes, listen!

The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!
The huge air opens and shuts my book: the wave
Dares to explode out of the rocks in reeking
Spray. Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!
Break, waves! Break up with your rejoicing surges
This quiet roof where sails like doves were pecking.

Original French Text

Le cimetière marin
Translation by C. Day Lewis


The French text and English translation side by side
Ce toit tranquille, où marchent des colombes,
Entre les pins palpite, entre les tombes;
Midi le juste y compose de feux
La mer, la mer, toujours recommencee
O récompense après une pensée
Qu'un long regard sur le calme des dieux!

Quel pur travail de fins éclairs consume
Maint diamant d'imperceptible écume,
Et quelle paix semble se concevoir!
Quand sur l'abîme un soleil se repose,
Ouvrages purs d'une éternelle cause,
Le temps scintille et le songe est savoir.

Stable trésor, temple simple à Minerve,
Masse de calme, et visible réserve,
Eau sourcilleuse, Oeil qui gardes en toi
Tant de sommeil sous une voile de flamme,
O mon silence! . . . Édifice dans l'ame,
Mais comble d'or aux mille tuiles, Toit!

Temple du Temps, qu'un seul soupir résume,
À ce point pur je monte et m'accoutume,
Tout entouré de mon regard marin;
Et comme aux dieux mon offrande suprême,
La scintillation sereine sème
Sur l'altitude un dédain souverain.

Comme le fruit se fond en jouissance,
Comme en délice il change son absence
Dans une bouche où sa forme se meurt,
Je hume ici ma future fumée,
Et le ciel chante à l'âme consumée
Le changement des rives en rumeur.

Beau ciel, vrai ciel, regarde-moi qui change!
Après tant d'orgueil, après tant d'étrange
Oisiveté, mais pleine de pouvoir,
Je m'abandonne à ce brillant espace,
Sur les maisons des morts mon ombre passe
Qui m'apprivoise à son frêle mouvoir.

L'âme exposée aux torches du solstice,
Je te soutiens, admirable justice
De la lumière aux armes sans pitié!
Je te tends pure à ta place première,
Regarde-toi! . . . Mais rendre la lumière
Suppose d'ombre une morne moitié.

O pour moi seul, à moi seul, en moi-même,
Auprès d'un coeur, aux sources du poème,
Entre le vide et l'événement pur,
J'attends l'écho de ma grandeur interne,
Amère, sombre, et sonore citerne,
Sonnant dans l'âme un creux toujours futur!

Sais-tu, fausse captive des feuillages,
Golfe mangeur de ces maigres grillages,
Sur mes yeux clos, secrets éblouissants,
Quel corps me traîne à sa fin paresseuse,
Quel front l'attire à cette terre osseuse?
Une étincelle y pense à mes absents.

Fermé, sacré, plein d'un feu sans matière,
Fragment terrestre offert à la lumière,
Ce lieu me plaît, dominé de flambeaux,
Composé d'or, de pierre et d'arbres sombres,
Où tant de marbre est tremblant sur tant d'ombres;
La mer fidèle y dort sur mes tombeaux!

Chienne splendide, écarte l'idolâtre!
Quand solitaire au sourire de pâtre,
Je pais longtemps, moutons mystérieux,
Le blanc troupeau de mes tranquilles tombes,
Éloignes-en les prudentes colombes,
Les songes vains, les anges curieux!

Ici venu, l'avenir est paresse.
L'insecte net gratte la sécheresse;
Tout est brûlé, défait, reçu dans l'air
A je ne sais quelle sévère essence . . .
La vie est vaste, étant ivre d'absence,
Et l'amertume est douce, et l'esprit clair.

Les morts cachés sont bien dans cette terre
Qui les réchauffe et sèche leur mystère.
Midi là-haut, Midi sans mouvement
En soi se pense et convient à soi-même
Tête complète et parfait diadème,
Je suis en toi le secret changement.

Tu n'as que moi pour contenir tes craintes!
Mes repentirs, mes doutes, mes contraintes
Sont le défaut de ton grand diamant! . . .
Mais dans leur nuit toute lourde de marbres,
Un peuple vague aux racines des arbres
A pris déjà ton parti lentement.

Ils ont fondu dans une absence épaisse,
L'argile rouge a bu la blanche espèce,
Le don de vivre a passé dans les fleurs!
Où sont des morts les phrases familières,
L'art personnel, les âmes singulières?
La larve file où se formaient les pleurs.

Les cris aigus des filles chatouillées,
Les yeux, les dents, les paupières mouillées,
Le sein charmant qui joue avec le feu,
Le sang qui brille aux lèvres qui se rendent,
Les derniers dons, les doigts qui les défendent,
Tout va sous terre et rentre dans le jeu!

Et vous, grande âme, espérez-vous un songe
Qui n'aura plus ces couleurs de mensonge
Qu'aux yeux de chair l'onde et l'or font ici?
Chanterez-vous quand serez vaporeuse?
Allez! Tout fuit! Ma présence est poreuse,
La sainte impatience meurt aussi!

Maigre immortalité noire et dorée,
Consolatrice affreusement laurée,
Qui de la mort fais un sein maternel,
Le beau mensonge et la pieuse ruse!
Qui ne connaît, et qui ne les refuse,
Ce crâne vide et ce rire éternel!

Pères profonds, têtes inhabitées,
Qui sous le poids de tant de pelletées,
Êtes la terre et confondez nos pas,
Le vrai rongeur, le ver irréfutable
N'est point pour vous qui dormez sous la table,
Il vit de vie, il ne me quitte pas!

Amour, peut-être, ou de moi-même haine?
Sa dent secrète est de moi si prochaine
Que tous les noms lui peuvent convenir!
Qu'importe! Il voit, il veut, il songe, il touche!
Ma chair lui plaît, et jusque sur ma couche,
À ce vivant je vis d'appartenir!

Zénon! Cruel Zénon! Zénon d'Êlée!
M'as-tu percé de cette flèche ailée
Qui vibre, vole, et qui ne vole pas!
Le son m'enfante et la flèche me tue!
Ah! le soleil . . . Quelle ombre de tortue
Pour l'âme, Achille immobile à grands pas!

Non, non! . . . Debout! Dans l'ère successive!
Brisez, mon corps, cette forme pensive!
Buvez, mon sein, la naissance du vent!
Une fraîcheur, de la mer exhalée,
Me rend mon âme . . . O puissance salée!
Courons à l'onde en rejaillir vivant.

Oui! grande mer de delires douée,
Peau de panthère et chlamyde trouée,
De mille et mille idoles du soleil,
Hydre absolue, ivre de ta chair bleue,
Qui te remords l'étincelante queue
Dans un tumulte au silence pareil

Le vent se lève! . . . il faut tenter de vivre!
L'air immense ouvre et referme mon livre,
La vague en poudre ose jaillir des rocs!
Envolez-vous, pages tout éblouies!
Rompez, vagues! Rompez d'eaux rejouies
Ce toit tranquille où picoraient des focs!

by Paul Valery.

1.

A vision haunts me, love, when thou art near,
Chilling my heart as frost nips April flowers;
A covering cloud, when all is fair and clear,
That takes the sweetness from our happiest hours.



2.

It steals the colour from our brightest sky;
It mars my soul's content when all seems well;
It quenches laughter in a shuddering sigh —
In thoughts that thrill me like a tolling bell.



3.

It numbs my passion when I love thee most;
It dims my eyes — it veils thy face; it slips,
An unseen shadow, like a creeping ghost,
Betwixt thy kisses and my hungering lips.



4.

What, amid richest plenty, starves me thus?
What is it draws my trustful hand from thine?
That sits a guest at marriage feast with us,
And mixes poison with the food and wine?



5.

In broad noonday — in dark hours long and lone —
A small green mound, a lettered name, I see.
There love is symboled in a graven stone —
There I lie dead, worth nothing more to thee.

6.

There weep the dews, and winds of winter blow;
The soft breeze rustles in the bending grass;
The cold rain falls there, and the drifting snow —
But tears fall not, nor lovers' footsteps pass.



7.

Bees hum all day amid the young spring leaves;
The rooks caw loud from every elm- tree bough;
The sparrows twitter in the old church eaves —
But no voice cries for me or calls me now.



8.

Bright beams of morn encompass me about;
The stars shine o'er me, and the pale moonlight;
But I, that lit and warmed thee, am gone out,
Like a burnt candle, in eternal night.



9.

Earth to the earth upon this churchyard slope.
We made no tryst for happier time and place;
And in thy sky gleams no immortal hope,
No distant radiance from my vanished face.



10.

And still the sands between thy fingers run —
Desires, delights, ambitions — days and years,
Rich hours of life for thee, though mine are done —
Too full for vain regrets, too brief for tears.



11.

I have lost all, but thou dost hold and save,
Adding new treasure to thy rifled store,
While weeds grow long on the neglected grave

Where sleeps thy mate who may be thine no more.



12.

This is the fate I feel, the ghost I see,
The dream I dream at night, the thought I dread —
That thus 'twill be some day with thee and me,
Thou fain to live while I am doubly dead.



13.

Thou still defiant of our common foe;
I vanquished quite — the once- resplendent crown
Of all thy joys become a dragging woe,
To be lopped off, lest it should weigh thee down.



14.

I, once thy sap of life, a wasteful drain
On thy green vigour, like a rotten branch;
I, once thy health, a paralyzing pain,
A bleeding wound that thou must haste to stanch.



15.

Because the dead are dead — the past is gone;
Because dear life is sweet and time is brief,
And some must fall, and some must still press on,
Nor waste scant strength in unavailing grief.



16.

I blame thee not. I know what must be must.
Nor shall I suffer when apart from thee.
I shall not care, when I am mouldering dust,
That once quick love is in the grave with me.



17.
Cast me away — thou knowest I shall not fret;
Take thy due joys — I shall not bear the cost.
I, that am thus forgotten, shall forget,
Nor shed one tear for all that I have lost.



18.

Not then, not then shall sting of death and dole,
The penal curse of life and love, befall;
'Tis now I wear the sackcloth on my soul,
Bereaved and lonely, while possessed of all.



19.

0, wert thou dead, should I, beloved, turn
Deaf heart to memory when of thee she spake?
Should I, when this pure fire had ceased to burn,
Seek other hearths, for sordid comfort's sake?



20.

No — no! Yet I am mortal — I am weak —
In need of warmth when wintry winds are cold;
And fateful years and circumstance will wreak
Their own stern will on mine, when all is told.



21.

How can I keep thee? Day and night I grope
In Nature's book, and in all books beside,
For but one touch of a substantial hope.
But all is vague and void on every side.



22.

Whence did we come? And is it there we go?
We look behind — night hides our place of birth;
The blank before hides heaven, for aught we know.
But what is heaven to us, whose home is earth?

23.

Flesh may be gross — the husk that holds the seed —
And gold and gems worth more than common bread;
But flesh is us, and bread is what we need,
And, changed and glorious, we should still be dead.



24.

What is the infinite universe to him
Who has no home? Eternal Future seems,
Like the Eternal Past, unreal and dim —
The airy region of a poet's dreams.



25.

What spirit essence, howsoe'er divine,
Can our lost selves restore from dusty grave?
Thy mortal mind and body — thine and mine —
Make all the joys I know, and all I crave.



26.

No fair romance of transcendental bliss,
No tale of palms and crowns my dull heart stirs,
That only hungers for a woman's kiss,
And asks no life that is not one with hers.



27.

Not such Hereafter can I wish to see;
Not this pale hope my sinking soul exalts;
I want no sexless angel — only thee,
My human love, with all thy human faults.



28.

Just as thou art — not beautiful or wise,
But prone to simple sins and sad unrest;
With thy warm lips and arms, and thy sweet eyes —
Sweeter for tears they weep upon my breast.



29.

Just as thou art — with thy soft household ways,
Thy noble failures and thy poor success,
Thy love that fits me for my strenuous days —
A mortal woman — neither more nor less.



30.

And thou must pass with these too rapid hours
To that great deep from whence we both were brought;
Thy sentient flesh must turn to grass and flowers,
To birds and beasts, to dust — to air — to naught.



31.

I know the parable. The great oaks grow
To their vast stature from an acorn grain,
And mightiest man was once an embryo.
But how can nothing bring thee forth again?



32.

And is the new oak tree the old oak tree?
And is the son the father? And wouldst thou,
If thou couldst rise from nothing, be to me
Thy present self, that satisfies me now?



33.

Words — words! A dream that fades in Faith's embrace,
And melts in Reason's all- refining fires;
The cherished hope of every age and race;
Born of man's fancy and his own desires.

34.

Here in our little island- home we bide
Our few brief years — 'tis all that we possess.
The Infinite lies around on every side,
But what it holds no mortal mind may guess.



35.

Say we remain — a lasting miracle —
As well we may; for this small world is rife
With mystic wonders that no tongue may tell,
And all things teem and travail with new life.



36.

Say we awake — ineffably alive,
Divinely perfect — in some higher sphere!
'Twill not be we — the we who strain and strive,
And love and learn, and joy and suffer, here.



37.

What is our hope, if any hope there be?
'Tis for some bliss uncared for and unknown,
That some strange beings, yet unborn, shall see.
Alas! And all we cry for is our own!



38.

Only to be ourselves — not cast abroad
In space and time, for either bliss or woe —
Only to keep the treasures we have stored!
And they must pass away. And we must go.



39.

How can we bear it? How can we submit?
Like a wild beast imprisoned, in our pain
We rave and rage for some way out of it,
But bruise and bleed against the bars in vain.



40.

All — all is dark. Beyond our birth and death —
At either end — the same unyielding door.
We live, we love, while we draw human breath.
This much we know — but we can know no more.



41.

The stars shine down upon the minster spires,
Silent, and pale, and still, like watching eyes.
Think of the tumult of those spinning fires —
Think of the vastness of those midnight skies!



42.

Think of our world in the immense unknown —
Only a grain of stellar dust; and man,
Wanting a God, a Saviour, all his own —
Wanting to break the universal plan!



43.

He but a phase of planetary change,
That once was not, and will give place anon
To other forms, more beautiful and strange —
To pass in turn — till earth herself is gone.



44.

Earth, that is next to nothing in the sum
Of things created — a brief mote in space,
With all her aeons past and yet to come.
Ah, think of it! How we forget our place!



45.
Casual atoms in the mighty scheme
That needs us not, we dimly wax and wane,
Dissolving ever like a passing dream —
A breath breathed forth and then drawn back again.



46.

Lone in these infinite realms, perchance unseen —
Unheard. And yet not lost. And not so small,
So feebly futile, pitifully mean,
As our poor creeds would make us, after all.



47.

Still are we details of the great design,
Set to our course, like circling sun and star;
Mortal, infinitesimal — yet divine,
Like Him — or It — that made us what we are.



48.

Let manhood, God- begotten, have its due.
'Tis God — whate'er He be — hath made us thus,
Ourselves as gods to know the right and true.
Shall He not, then, be justified in us?



49.

The warm sap runs; the tender leaves unfold;
Ant helps his brother ant; birds build in spring;
The patient earthworm sifts the crumbled mould; —
A sacred instinct guides each living thing.



50.

Shall we, its born interpreters, not heed?
Shall we confess us failures, whom He lifts
So high above these creatures that succeed?
Or prove us worthy of our nobler gifts?

51.

Shall we not prove us worthy? Ay, we will
Because we can, we must — through peace and strife,
Bright hope and black despair, come good, come ill.
'Tis man's sole title to his place in life.



52.

To stand upright in all the winds that blow,
Unbeaten as a tree in driving rain;
In all our doubts, to do the best we know,
From no base fear of loss or hope of gain.



53.

To still the cry of self — give listening ears
To stern Truth's message, whatsoe'er it be;
To share our brother's toil and dry his tears —
This is the task set forth for thee and me.



54.

This is the lesson that we live to learn,
And, by brave thought, by word and deed, to teach;
These are the heights our lifted eyes discern
Through cloud and darkness, that our souls must reach.



55.

Not less am I in wisdom and in will
Than ants and worms. I am full- furnished too
My arduous errand hither to fulfil.
I know my work, and what a man can do.



56.

My God, I ask Thee nothing. Thou hast given
This conscious mind, this brain without a flaw;
And I will strive, as I have humbly striven,
To make them serve their purpose and Thy law.



57.

But thee, my soul's companion — thee I seek
For daily courage to support my lot.
In thee hath Nature made me strong or weak.
My human comforter, forsake me not!



58.

My nobler self, in whom I live my best,
Strengthen me! Raise me! Help me to the last!
Lay thy dear head upon my throbbing breast —
Give me thy hands, that I may hold thee fast!



59.

Come close — come closer! Let me feel thy heart,
Thy pulsing heart, thy breathing lips, on mine.
O love, let only death and graveyard part —
If they must part — my flesh and soul from thine!



60.

Let no mistrust, no doubt, no poor caprice
Darken for me in thy transparent gaze;
Let no self- wrought estrangement wreck our peace,
Nor vain dissension waste our precious days.



61.

Be thou my purer eyes, my keener ears,
My finer conscience, steadfast, unafraid —
Till these few, swift, inexorable years
Have borne us both beyond the reach of aid.

62.

Be thou my staff upon this lonely way.
Be thou my lamp till need of light is past —
Till the dark shadow, lengthening day by day,
Spreads over all and quenches us at last.



63.

Keep me from falling! Keep me from despair!
Keep me true man, if only man I be,
Faithful and brave to bear what I must bear.
For what else have I, if I have not thee?

by Ada Cambridge.

The Hand In The Dark

How calm the spangled city spread below!
How cool the night! How fair the starry skies!
How sweet the dewy breezes! But I know
What, under all their seeming beauty, lies.

That million-fibred heart, alive, is wrung
With every grief that human creatures fear.
Could its dumb anguish find a fitting tongue
The very dead within their graves would hear.

It calls me from my rest, that voiceless wail
Of Lazarus at the gate — my kith and kin
Whose cruise and cake, and staff and beacon, fail —
The famished crowd, that cannot enter in.

How can I take my ease amid this pain,
These pangs, these tears, these crimes, that never cease?
While homeless children cry for bread in vain
How can I eat? How can I sleep in peace?

Poor comrades of the fight, that have no place!
Brothers and sisters, born to want and wrong.
Born weak and maimed, to run a hopeless race,
Lost at the start, against the hale and strong!

Poor scapegoats of the wilderness, that fast
For those who feast! And, ah, poor feasters too!
They also thirst and hunger at the last.
And this is Life — and all the Race can do.

Vain, vain the listening ear, the questioning gaze.
Shoreless, unplumbed, the ether-ocean lies
Above these roofs, beyond the smoke and haze —
The Infinite — alive with watching eyes.

To see our orb of sorrow whirling there —
The tiny swarm of struggling things, that curse
Their subject province, and yet calmly dare
To claim the kingship of the Universe.
Dread cloud of witnesses to earth's disgrace!
Earth is my trust — I am afraid to look
Those still and stern accusers in the face,
And haste to hide in my familiar nook.

My little nook — where is it? Have I none?
I grow confused betwixt the sea and shore.
I had some lamps to guide me — one by one
They flashed and failed, and now I have no more.

Where am I? Oh, where am I? I can feel —
To feel my torment — but I cannot see,
I cannot hear. My brain begins to reel,
My heart to faint. Almighty, speak to me!

Help me! Or, in Thy pity, take me hence
While feeling heart and thinking brain are whole,
Or give me any rag of carnal sense,
So it suffice to wrap my naked soul!

* * * * *
No word. No sign. Yet something in the air
Soothes, like a cool hand on a fevered brow.
Replenished, from the ashes of despair
I rise renewed. Belovèd, where art thou?

She sleeps. She stirs. She hears the lightest fall
Of foot familiar with her chamber floor.
Her spirit answers to my spirit's call:
Come home! Come home! And I am saved once more.

Bringing no leaf of hope, alone and late,
Spent and wing-weary, famished for a crumb,
The wandering dove heads back to nest and mate.
My Love and Comforter, I come! I come!

Here is the welcome threshold of my ark,
My island-home amid the trackless flood.
Her hand shuts out the Silence and the Dark;
Her pulse thrills life into my fainting blood.

She draws me down upon that couch of bliss,
Her faithful arms, her tender mother-breast;
I clasp her close, those sweetest lips I kiss,
And, at long last, I have my hour of rest.

* * * * *
Thou, too, my love, hast wandered far and wide,
And hast come home, where all thy wanderings cease.
The door is shut. Thy mate is at thy side.
Here is thy long-sought pillow. Sleep in peace.

Heed not the patter of the weeping eaves,
The groan of branches bending to the rain,
The sad tap-tapping of dead autumn leaves,
Like ghostly fingers, on the window-pane.
The wind-borne echoings, from east and west,
Of weeping woe and wailing agony;
All night they cry round thy beleaguered nest,
But fear them not, for thou art safe with me.

Let the sad world spin on, a trail of shame
Amongst the myriad worlds. Whate'er befalls,
The great God knows that we are not to blame.
Our world is here, within our chamber walls.

In this asylum, secret and apart,
Whereof we keep the one and only key,
Rest thee, poor tired heart, upon my heart,
As all my weary being rests in thee.

Good-night! Good-night! Sleep deep and well, my bride.
The fight goes on, but we have won release.
Our wounds are healed, our tears are shed and dried.
Let the storms rage — they cannot break our peace.

* * * * *
Peace — is it peace? What is that form of fear
That looms ahead? What distillation sours
The joy of life when thou, alive, art near,
And nought seems wanting to the perfect hours?

What chills my passion when I love thee most,
And dims my eyes, and veils thy face, and slips,
An unseen shadow, like a creeping ghost,
Betwixt my hungering kisses and thy lips?

What, amid richest plenty, starves me thus?
What is it steals my soul's content, and thine —
That sits a guest at marriage-feast with us,
And mixes poison with the food and wine?

* * * * *
A vision comes. A graveyard, all alone,
A small green mound, a withered funeral wreath;
Love's last drear symbol of a graven stone,
And Life and I but worthless dust beneath.

There weep the dews, and winds of winter blow;
The soft breeze rustles in the bending grass;
The cold rain falls there, and the drifting snow.
But tears fall not, nor lover's footsteps pass.

Bees hum all day amid the young spring leaves;
The rooks call loudly from the elm-tree bough;
The sparrows twitter in the old church eaves;
But no voice cries for me, or calls me, now.

Bright beams of morning compass me about;
The stars shine o'er me, and the pale moonlight;
But I, that lit and warmed thee, am gone out
Like a burnt candle, in eternal night.

Earth to the earth upon this churchyard slope,
Ashes to ashes, nothing to the nought;
No tryst between us, and no star of hope
To light the path so passionately sought.

And still the sands between thy fingers run —
Desires, delights, ambitions, days and years,
Rich hours of life for thee, though mine are done —
Too full for vain regrets, too brief for tears.

I have lost all, but thou dost hold and save,
Adding new treasure to thy rifled store;
While weeds grow long on the deserted grave
Where sleeps thy mate who may be thine no more.

* * * * *
This is the fate I fear, the ghost I see,
The dream I dream at night, the thought I dread —
That thus 't'will be someday with thee and me,
Thou fain to live while I am doubly dead.

Thou still defiant of our common foe,
I vanquished quite — the once-resplendent crown
Of all thy joys become a dragging woe,
To be lopped off lest it should weigh thee down.

I, once thy sap of life, a wasteful drain
On thy green vigour, like a rotten branch;
I, once thy health, a paralysing pain,
A bleeding wound, that thou must haste to stanch.

Because the dead are dead — the past is gone;
Because dear life is sweet and time is brief,
And some must fall, and some must still press on,
Nor waste scant strength in unavailing grief.

* * * * *
I blame thee not. I know what must be must.
Nor shall I suffer when apart from thee.
I shall not care, when I am mouldering dust,
That once quick love is in the grave with me.
Cast me away — thou knowest I shall not fret;
Take thy due joys — I shall not bear the cost.
I, that am thus forgotten, shall forget,
Nor shed one tear for all that I have lost.

Not then the sting of death, the day of dole,
When corpse of love lies under funeral pall;
'Tis now I wear the sackcloth on my soul,
Bereaved and lonely, while possessed of all.

* * * * *
If thou wert dead, belovèd, should I turn
Deaf heart to memory when of thee she spake?
Should I, when this pure fire had ceased to burn,
Seek other hearths for sordid comfort's sake?

No, no! Yet I am mortal, I am weak,
And any fire is warm in wintry cold.
Alas! alas! The fateful years will wreak
Their own stern will on ours, when all is told.

Tell us, 0 Thou that canst behold us grope,
Whole-souled, incessant, through these realms unknown
For but one touch of a substantial hope,
How can we keep our dear selves for our own?

Whence did we come? And is it there we go?
We look behind — night hides our place of birth;
The blank ahead hides Heaven, for aught we know;
But what is Heaven to us, whose home is Earth?

Flesh may be gross — the husk that holds the seed;
Jewels of gold worth more than common bread;
But we are flesh, and common bread our need.
Angels in glory, we should still be dead.

What is the infinite Universe to him
Who has no home? Eternal Future seems,
Like the eternal Past, unreal and dim,
The airy region of a poet's dreams.

What spirit-essence, howsoe'er divine,
Can our lost selves restore from dusty grave?
Her mortal mind and body — hers and mine —
Make all the joys I know, and all I crave.

No fair romance of transcendental bliss,
No tale of palms and crowns, my dull heart stirs,
That only hungers for a woman's kiss,
And asks no life that is not one with hers.
No such Hereafter do I ask to see;
No such pale hope my sinking soul exalts;
I want no sexless angel — only thee,
My human love, with all thy human faults.

Just as thou art — not beautiful or wise,
But prone to simple sins and sad unrest —
With thy warm lips and arms, and thy sweet eyes,
Sweeter for tears they weep upon my breast.

Just as thou art, with thy soft household ways,
Thy noble failures and thy poor success,
Thy love that fits me for my strenuous days;
A mortal woman — neither more nor less.

* * * * *
And thou must pass, with these too rapid hours,
To that great deep wherefrom we both were brought;
Thy sentient flesh must turn to grass and flowers,
To birds and beasts, to dust — to air — to nought.

I know the parable. The great oaks grow
To their vast stature from an acorn grain,
And mightiest man was once an embryo.
But how can nothing bring thee forth again?

And is the new oak tree the old oak tree?
And is the son the father? And would'st thou,
If thou could'st rise from nothing, be to me
The precious self that satisfies me now?

Words! Words! A tale — a fairy legend, drawn
From lore of babes, that men must cast away;
Faith of the primal dreamer and the dawn,
Eluding vision in the light of day.

Here in our little island-home we bide
Our few brief years — the years that we possess.
Beyond, the Infinite on every side
Holds what no man may know, though all may guess.

We may remain — a lasting miracle. Ay, well we may. Our island-home is rife
With marvels greater than the tongue can tell,
And all things teem and travail with new life.

We may awake, ineffably alive,
Divinely perfect, in some higher sphere:
But still not we shall wake — the we who strive,
Who love and learn, who joy and suffer, here.
What then our hope, if any hope there be?
A something vague and formless and unknown,
That some strange beings, yet unborn, shall see.
Alas! And all we cry for is our own.

Only to be ourselves — not cast abroad
In space and time, for either bliss or woe;
Only to keep the treasures we have stored.
And they must pass away. And we must go.

How can we bear it? How can we submit?
Like a wild beast imprisoned, in our pain
We rave and rage for some way out of it,
And bruise and bleed against the bars in vain.

All, all is dark. Beyond our birth and death —
At either end — the same unyielding door.
We live, we love, while we draw human breath;
And then we die. And then? We know no more.

* * * * *
Ah, but look up, above these roofs and spires,
To where the stars shine down like watching eyes.
Conceive the tumult of those spinning fires!
Behold the vastness of those midnight skies!

And count the value of this speck of earth
Amid the countless Whole; and measure Man —
That on this speck but yesterday had birth,
And claims all God — with the prodigious plan.

Man, but a phase of planetary change,
That once was not, and will give place anon
To other forms, more beautiful and strange —
To pass in turn — till Earth herself is gone.

Earth, that is next to nothing in the sum
Of things created — a brief mote in space,
With all her aeons past and yet to come.
How we miscalculate our size — our place!

Yet are we men — details of the design,
Set to our course, like circling sun and star;
Mortal, infinitesimal, yet divine
Of that divine which made us what we are.

And yet this world, this microscopic ball,
This cast-up grain of sand upon the shore,
This trivial shred and atom of the ALL,
Is still our Trust, that we must answer for.
A lighthouse in the Infinite, with lamps
That we must trim and feed until we die;
A lonely outpost of the unseen camps
That we must keep, although we know not why.

The workman and the soldier have the word;
Theirs to obey, and not to question. Thus
We stand to orders that we never heard,
Bound to our little part. Enough for us.

The warm sap runs; the tender leaves unfold;
Ant helps his brother ant; birds build and sing;
The patient earthworm aids the pregnant mould
To fruit in autumn and to bud in spring.

Not less am I in wisdom and in will
Than ants and worms. I am full-furnished too
My arduous errand hither to fulfil.
I know my work, and what a man can do.

Maker of all! Enough that Thou hast given
This tempered mind, this brain without a flaw.
Enough for me to strive, as I have striven,
To make them serve their purpose and Thy law.

* * * * *
But, oh, my soul's companion! Thee I seek
For daily courage to support my lot.
In thee hath Nature made me strong or weak.
My human comforter, forsake me not!

My nobler self, in whom I live my best,
Strengthen me! Raise me! Lead me to the last!
Lay thy dear head upon my throbbing breast,
Give me thy hands, that I may hold thee fast!

Come close — come closer! Let me feel thy heart,
Thy pulsing heart, thy breathing lips, on mine.
0 love, let only death and graveyard part —
If they must part — my flesh and soul from thine!

Be thou my purer eyes, my keener ears,
My finer conscience, clean and unafraid,
Till these few, swift, inexorable years
Have borne us both beyond the reach of aid.

My rod and staff upon this lonely way,
My beacon-lamp till need of light is past;
Till the great Shadow, lengthening day by day,
Spreads over all and quenches us at last.

by Ada Cambridge.

The Children Of The Lord's Supper. (From The Swedish Of Bishop Tegner)

Pentecost, day of rejoicing, had come. The church of the village
Gleaming stood in the morning's sheen. On the spire of the bell
Decked with a brazen cock, the friendly flames of the Spring-sun
Glanced like the tongues of fire, beheld by Apostles aforetime.
Clear was the heaven and blue, and May, with her cap crowned with roses,
Stood in her holiday dress in the fields, and the wind and the brooklet
Murmured gladness and peace, God's-peace! with lips rosy-tinted
Whispered the race of the flowers, and merry on balancing branches
Birds were singing their carol, a jubilant hymn to the Highest.
Swept and clean was the churchyard. Adorned like a leaf-woven arbor
Stood its old-fashioned gate; and within upon each cross of iron
Hung was a fragrant garland, new twined by the hands of
affection.
Even the dial, that stood on a mound among the departed,
(There full a hundred years had it stood,) was embellished with blossoms
Like to the patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the hamlet,
Who on his birthday is crowned by children and children's children,
So stood the ancient prophet, and mute with his pencil of iron
Marked on the tablet of stone, and measured the time and its changes,
While all around at his feet, an eternity slumbered in quiet.
Also the church within was adorned, for this was the season
When the young, their parents' hope, and the loved-ones of heaven,
Should at the foot of the altar renew the vows of their
baptism.
Therefore each nook and corner was swept and cleaned, and the dust was
Blown from the walls and ceiling, and from the oil-painted benches.
There stood the church like a garden; the Feast of the Leafy Pavilions
Saw we in living presentment. From noble arms on the church wall
Grew forth a cluster of leaves, and the preacher's pulpit of oak-wood
Budded once more anew, as aforetime the rod before Aaron.
Wreathed thereon was the Bible with leaves, and the dove, washed with silver
Under its canopy fastened, had on it a necklace of wind-flowers.
But in front of the choir, round the altar-piece painted by
Horberg,
Crept a garland gigantic; and bright-curling tresses of
angels
Peeped, like the sun from a cloud, from out of the shadowy leaf-work.
Likewise the lustre of brass, new-polished, blinked from the ceiling,
And for lights there were lilies of Pentecost set in the sockets.

Loud rang the bells already; the thronging crowd was
assembled
Far from valleys and hills, to list to the holy preaching.
Hark! then roll forth at once the mighty tones of the organ,
Hover like voices from God, aloft like invisible spirits.
Like as Elias in heaven, when he cast from off him his
mantle,
So cast off the soul its garments of earth; and with one voice
Chimed in the congregation, and sang an anthem immortal
Of the sublime Wallin, of David's harp in the North-land
Tuned to the choral of Luther; the song on its mighty pinions
Took every living soul, and lifted it gently to heaven,
And each face did shine like the Holy One's face upon Tabor.
Lo! there entered then into the church the Reverend Teacher.
Father he hight and he was in the parish; a Christianly
plainness
Clothed from his head to his feet the old man of seventy winters.
Friendly was he to behold, and glad as the heralding angel
Walked he among the crowds, but still a contemplative
grandeur
Lay on his forehead as clear as on moss-covered gravestone a sunbeam.
As in his inspiration (an evening twilight that faintly
Gleams in the human soul, even now, from the day of creation)
Th' Artist, the friend of heaven, imagines Saint John when in Patmos,
Gray, with his eyes uplifted to heaven, so seemed then the old man:
Such was the glance of his eye, and such were his tresses of silver.
All the congregation arose in the pews that were numbered.
But with a cordial look, to the right and the left hand, the old man
Nodding all hail and peace, disappeared in the innermost chancel.

Simply and solemnly now proceeded the Christian service,
Singing and prayer, and at last an ardent discourse from the old man.
Many a moving word and warning, that out of the heart came,
Fell like the dew of the morning, like manna on those in the desert.
Then, when all was finished, the Teacher re-entered the
chancel
Followed therein by the young. The boys on the right had their places,
Delicate figures, with close-curling hair and cheeks rosy-blooming.
But on the left of these there stood the tremulous lilies,
Tinged with the blushing light of the dawn, the diffident maidens,--
Folding their hands in prayer, and their eyes cast down on the pavement
Now came, with question and answer, the catechism. In the beginning
Answered the children with troubled and faltering voice, but the old man's
Glances of kindness encouraged them soon, and the doctrines eternal
Flowed, like the waters of fountains, so clear from lips unpolluted.
Each time the answer was closed, and as oft as they named the Redeemer,
Lowly louted the boys, and lowly the maidens all courtesied.
Friendly the Teacher stood, like an angel of light there among them.
And to the children explained the holy, the highest, in few words,
Thorough, yet simple and clear, for sublimity always is simple,
Both in sermon and song, a child can seize on its meaning.
E'en as the green-growing bud unfolds when Springtide
approaches.
Leaf by leaf puts forth, and wanued, by the radiant sunshine,
Blushes with purple and gold, till at last the perfected blossom
Opens its odorous chalice, and rocks with its crown in the breezes,
So was unfolded here the Christian lore of salvation,
Line by line from the soul of childhood. The fathers and mothers
Stood behind them in tears, and were glad at the well-worded answer.

Now went the old man up to the altar;--and straightway transfigured
(So did it seem unto me) was then the affectionate Teacher.
Like the Lord's Prophet sublime, and awful as Death and as Judgment
Stood he, the God-commissioned, the soul-searcher, earthward descending
Glances, sharp as a sword, into hearts that to him were
transparent
Shot he; his voice was deep, was low like the thunder afar off.
So on a sudden transfigured he stood there, lie spake and he questioned.

'This is the faith of the Fathers, the faith the Apostles delivered,
This is moreover the faith whereunto I baptized you, while still ye
Lay on your mothers' breasts, and nearer the portals of heaven,
Slumbering received you then the Holy Church in its bosom;
Wakened from sleep are ye now, and the light in its radiant splendor
Downward rains from the heaven;--to-day on the threshold of childhood
Kindly she frees you again, to examine and make your election,
For she knows naught of compulsion, and only conviction
desireth.
This is the hour of your trial, the turning-point of existence,
Seed for the coming days; without revocation departeth
Now from your lips the confession; Bethink ye, before ye make answer!
Think not, O think not with guile to deceive the questioning Teacher.
Sharp is his eye to-day, and a curse ever rests upon falsehood.
Enter not with a lie on Life's journey; the multitude hears you,
Brothers and sisters and parents, what dear upon earth is and holy
Standeth before your sight as a witness; the Judge everlasting
Looks from the sun down upon you, and angels in waiting beside him
Grave your confession in letters of fire upon tablets eternal.
Thus, then,--believe ye in God, in the Father who this world created?
Him who redeemed it, the Son, and the Spirit where both are united?
Will ye promise me here, (a holy promise!) to cherish
God more than all things earthly, and every man as a brother?
Will ye promise me here, to confirm your faith by your living,
Th' heavenly faith of affection! to hope, to forgive, and to suffer,
Be what it may your condition, and walk before God in
uprightness?
Will ye promise me this before God and man?'--With a clear voice
Answered the young men Yes! and Yes! with lips softly-breathing
Answered the maidens eke. Then dissolved from the brow of the Teacher
Clouds with the lightnings therein, and lie spake in accents more gentle,
Soft as the evening's breath, as harps by Babylon's rivers.

'Hail, then, hail to you all! To the heirdom of heaven be ye welcome!
Children no more from this day, but by covenant brothers and sisters!
Yet,--for what reason not children? Of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Here upon earth an assemblage of children, in heaven one Father,
Ruling them all as his household,--forgiving in turn and chastising,
That is of human life a picture, as Scripture has taught us.
Blest are the pure before God! Upon purity and upon virtue
Resteth the Christian Faith: she herself from on high is descended.
Strong as a man and pure as a child, is the sum of the doctrine,
Which the Divine One taught, and suffered and died on the cross for
Oh, as ye wander this day from childhood's sacred asylum
Downward and ever downward, and deeper in Age's chill valley,
Oh, how soon will ye come,--too soon!--and long to turn
backward
Up to its hill-tops again, to the sun-illumined, where Judgment
Stood like a father before you, and Pardon, clad like a mother,
Gave you her hand to kiss, and the loving heart was for given
Life was a play and your hands grasped after the roses of heaven!
Seventy years have I lived already; the Father eternal
Gave rue gladness and care; but the loveliest hours of
existence,
When I have steadfastly gazed in their eyes, I have instantly known them,
Known them all again;-- the were my childhood's acquaintance.
Therefore take from henceforth, as guides in the paths of existence,
Prayer, with her eyes raised to heaven, and. Innocence, bride of man's childhood
Innocence, child beloved, is a guest from the world of the blessed,
Beautiful, and in her hand a lily; on life's roaring billows
Swings she in safety, she heedeth them not in the ship she is sleeping.
Calmly she gazes around in the turmoil of men; in the desert
Angels descend and minister unto her; she herself knoweth
Naught of her glorious attendance; but follows faithful and humble,
Follows so long as she may her friend; oh do not reject her,
For she cometh from God and she holdeth the keys of the heavens.
Prayer is Innocence' friend; and willingly flieth incessant
'Twixt rhe earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven,
Son of Eternity, fettered in Time, and an exile, the Spirit
Tugs at his chains evermore, and struggles like flame ever upward.
Still he recalls with emotion his Father's manifold mansions,
Thinks of the land of his fathers, where blossomed more freshly the flowerets,
Shone a more beautiful sun, and he played with the winged angels.
Then grows the earth too narrow, too close; and homesick for heaven
Longs the wanderer again; and the Spirit's longings are worship;
Worship is called his most beautiful hour, and its tongue is entreaty.
Aid when the infinite burden of life descendeth upon us,
Crushes to earth our hope, and, under the earth, in the
graveyard,
Then it is good to pray unto God; for his sorrowiug children
Turns he ne'er from his door, but he heals and helps and consoles them,
Yet is it better to pray when all things are prosperous with us,
Pray in fortunate days, for life's most beautiful Fortune
Kneels before the Eternal's throne; and with hands interfolded,
Praises thankful and moved the only giver of blessings.
Or do ye know, ye children, one blessing that comes not from Heaven?
What has mankind forsooth, the poor! that it has not received?
Therefore, fall in the dust and pray! The seraphs adoring
Cover with pinions six their face in the glory of him who
Hung his masonry pendent on naught, when the world be created.
Earth declareth his might, and the firmament utters his glory.
Races blossom and die, and stars fall downward from heaven,
Downward like withered leaves; at the last stroke of midnight, millenniums
Lay themselves down at his feet, and he sees them, but counts them as nothing
Who shall stand in his presence? The wrath of the judge is terrific,
Casting the insolent down at a glance. When he speaks in his anger
Hillocks skip like the kid, and mountains leap like the roebuck.
Yet,--why are ye afraid, ye children? This awful avenger,
Ah! is a merciful God! God's voice was not in the earthquake,
Not in the fire, nor the storm, but it was in the whispering breezes.
Love is the root of creation; God's essence; worlds without number
Lie in his bosom like children; he made them for this purpose only.
Only to love and to be loved again, he breathed forth his spirit
Into the slumbering dust, and upright standing, it laid its
Hand on its heart, and felt it was warm with a flame out of heaven.
Quench, oh quench not that flame! It is the breath of your being.
Love is life, but hatred is death. Not father, nor mother
Loved you, as God has loved you; for 't was that you may be happy
Gave he his only Son. When he bowed down his head in the death-hour
Solemnized Love its triumph; the sacrifice then was completed.
Lo! then was rent on a sudden the veil of the temple, dividing
Earth and heaven apart, and the dead from their sepulchres rising
Whispered with pallid lips and low in the ears of each other
Th' answer, but dreamed of before, to creation's enigma,-- Atonement!
Depths of Love are Atonement's depths, for Love is Atonement.
Therefore, child of mortality, love thou the merciful Father;
Wish what the Holy One wishes, and not from fear, but affection
Fear is the virtue of slaves ; but the heart that loveth is willing
Perfect was before God, and perfect is Love, and Love only.
Lovest thou God as thou oughtest, then lovest thou likewise thy brethren:
One is the sun in heaven, and one, only one, is Love also.
Bears not each human figure the godlike stamp on his forehead
Readest thou not in his face thou origin? Is he not sailing
Lost like thyself on an ocean unknown, and is he not guided
By the same stars that guide thee? Why shouldst thou hate then thy brother?
Hateth he thee, forgive! For 't is sweet to stammer one letter
Of the Eternal's language;--on earth it is called Forgiveness!
Knowest thou Him, who forgave, with the crown of thorns on his temples?
Earnestly prayed for his foes, for his murderers? Say, dost thou know him?
Ah! thou confessest his name, so follow likewise his example,
Think of thy brother no ill, but throw a veil over his failings,
Guide the erring aright; for the good, the heavenly shepherd
Took the lost lamb in his arms, and bore it back to its mother.
This is the fruit of Love, and it is by its fruits that we know it.
Love is the creature's welfare, with God; but Love among mortals
Is but an endless sigh! He longs, and endures, and stands waiting,
Suffers and yet rejoices, and smiles with tears on his eyelids.
Hope,--so is called upon earth, his recompense, Hope, the befriending,
Does what she can, for she points evermore up to heaven, and faithful
Plunges her anchor's peak in the depths of the grave, and beneath it
Paints a more beautiful world, a dim, but a sweet play of shadows!
Races, better than we, have leaned on her wavering promise,
Having naught else but Hope. Then praise we our Father in heaven,
Him, who has given us more; for to us has Hope been
transfigured,
Groping no longer in night; she is Faith, she is living
assurance.
Faith is enlightened Hope; she is light, is the eye of
affection,
Dreams of the longing interprets, and carves their visions in marble.
Faith is the sun of life ; and her countenance shines like the Hebrew's,
For she has looked upon God; the heaven on its stable foundation
Draws she with chains down to earth, and the New Jerusalem sinketh
Splendid with portals twelve in golden vapors descending.
There enraptured she wanders. and looks at the figures majestic,
Fears not the winged crowd, in the midst of them all is her homestead.
Therefore love and believe; for works will follow spontaneous
Even as day does the sun; the Right from the Good is an
offspring,
Love in a bodily shape; and Christian works are no more than
Animate Love and faith, as flowers are the animate Springtide.
Works do follow us all unto God; there stand and bear witness
Not what they seemed,--but what they were only. Blessed is he who
Hears their confession secure; they are mute upon earth until death's hand
Opens the mouth of the silent. Ye children, does Death e'er alarm you?
Death is the brother of Love, twin-brother is he, and is only
More austere to behold. With a kiss upon lips that are fading
Takes he the soul and departs, and, rocked in the arms of affection,
Places the ransomed child, new born, 'fore the face of its father.
Sounds of his coming already I hear,--see dimly his pinions,
Swart as the night, but with stars strewn upon them! I fear not before him.
Death is only release, and in mercy is mute. On his bosom
Freer breathes, in its coolness, my breast; and face to face standing
Look I on God as he is, a sun unpolluted by vapors;
Look on the light of the ages I loved, the spirits majestic,
Nobler, better than I; they stand by the throne all
transfigured,
Vested in white, and with harps of gold, and are singing an anthem,
Writ in the climate of heaven, in the language spoken by angels.
You, in like manner, ye children beloved, he one day shall gather,
Never forgets he the weary;--then welcome, ye loved ones, hereafter!
Meanwhile forget not the keeping of vows, forget not the promise,
Wander from holiness onward to holiness; earth shall ye heed not
Earth is but dust and heaven is light; I have pledged you to heaven.
God of the universe, hear me! thou fountain of Love
everlasting,
Hark to the voice of thy servant! I send up my prayer to thy heaven!
Let me hereafter not miss at thy throne one spirit of all these,
Whom thou hast given me here! I have loved them all like a father.
May they bear witness for me, that I taught them the way of salvation,
Faithful, so far as I knew, of thy word; again may they know me,
Fall on their Teacher's breast, and before thy face may I place them,
Pure as they now are, but only more tried, and exclaiming with gladness,
Father, lo! I am here, and the children, whom thou hast given me!'

Weeping he spake in these words; and now at the beck of the old man
Knee against knee they knitted a wreath round the altar's enclosure.
Kneeling he read then the prayers of the consecration, and softly
With him the children read; at the close, with tremulous accents,
Asked he the peace of Heaven, a benediction upon them.
Now should have ended his task for the day; the following Sunday
Was for the young appointed to eat of the Lord's holy Supper.
Sudden, as struck from the clouds, stood the Teacher silent and laid his
Hand on his forehead, and cast his looks upward; while thoughts high and holy,
Flew through the midst of his soul, and his eyes glanced with wonderful brightness.
'On the next Sunday, who knows! perhaps I shall rest in the graveyard!
Some one perhaps of yourselves, a lily broken untimely,
Bow down his head to the earth; why delay I? the hour is accomplished,
Warm is the heart;--I will! for to-day grows the harvest of heaven.
What I began accomplish I now; what failing therein is
I, the old man, will answer to God and the reverend father.
Say to me only, ye children, ye denizens new-come in heaven,
Are ye ready this day to eat of the bread of Atonement?
What it denoteth, that know ye full well, I have told it you often.
Of the new covenant symbol it is, of Atonement a token,
Stablished between earth and heaven. Man by his sins and transgressions
Far has wandered from God, from his essence. 'T was in the beginning
Fast by the Tree of Knowledge he fell, and it hangs its crown o'er the
Fall to this day; in the Thought is the Fall; in the Heart the Atonement.
Infinite is the fall,--the Atonement infinite likewise.
See! behind me, as far as the old man remembers, and forward,
Far as Hope in her flight can reach with her wearied pinions,
Sin and Atonement incessant go through the lifetime of mortals.
Sin is brought forth full-grown; but Atonement sleeps in our bosoms
Still as the cradled babe; and dreams of heaven and of angels,
Cannot awake to sensation; is like the tones in the harp's strings,
Spirits imprisoned, that wait evermore the deliverer's finger.
Therefore, ye children beloved, descended the Prince of
Atonement,
Woke the slumberer from sleep, and she stands now with eyes all resplendent.
Bright as the vault of the sky, and battles with Sin and o'ercomes her.
Downward to earth he came and, transfigured, thence reascended,
Not from the heart in like wise, for there he still lives in the Spirit,
Loves and atones evermore. So long as Time is, is Atonement.
Therefore with reverence take this day her visible token.
Tokens are dead if the things live not. The light everlasting
Unto the blind is not, but is born of the eye that has vision.
Neither in bread nor in wine, but in the heart that is hallowed
Lieth forgiveness enshrined; the intention alone of amendment
Fruits of the earth ennobles to heavenly things, and removes all
Sin and the guerdon of sin. Only Love with his arms wide extended,
Penitence wee ping and praying; the Will that is tried, and whose gold flows
Purified forth from the flames; in a word, mankind by Atonement
Breaketh Atonement's bread, and drinketh Atonement's wine-cup.
But he who cometh up hither, unworthy, with hate in his bosom,
Scoffing at men and at God, is guilty of Christ's blessed body,
And the Redeemer's blood! To himself he eateth and drinketh
Death and doom ! And from this, preserve us, thou heavenly Father!
Are ye ready, ye children, to eat of the bread of Atonement?
Thus with emotion he asked, and together answered the children,
'Yes!' with deep sobs interrupted. Then read he the due
supplications,
Read the Form of Communion, and in chimed the organ and anthem:
'O Holy Lamb of God, who takest away our transgressions,
Hear us! give us thy peace! have mercy, have mercy upon us!'
Th' old man, with trembling hand, and heavenly pearls on his eyelids,
Filled now the chalice and paten, and dealt round the mystical symbols.
Oh, then seemed it to me as if God, with the broad eye of midday,
Clearer looked in at the windows, and all the trees in the church yard
Bowed down their summits of green, and the grass on the graves 'gan to shiver
But in the children (I noted it well ; I knew it) there ran a
Tremor of holy rapture along through their ice-cold members.
Decked like an altar before them, there stood the green earth, and above it
Heaven opened itself, as of old before Stephen; they saw there
Radiant in glory the Father, and on his right hand the
Redeemer.
Under them hear they the clang of harpstrings, and angels from gold clouds
Beckon to them like brothers, and fan with their pinions of purple.

Closed was the Teacher's task, and with heaven in their hearts and their faces,
Up rose the children all, and each bowed him, weeping full sorely,
Downward to kiss that reverend hand, but all of them pressed he
Moved to his bosom, and laid, with a prayer, his hands full of blessings,
Now on the holy breast, and now on the innocent tresses.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.