Dying Among the Pines

Dying among the pines, the living pines,
That hold their heads green all the Winter through,
And from their dark trunks, seam'd with silver lines,
Drop down all day their healing balm like dew,

Where the soft beat of the low pulsing sea
Scarce ruffles on the level silver strand,
So well the pine woods, hanging on her lea,
Filter'd the rough winds ere they touch the sand.

Dying, still dying, — far out in the wood,
Over the sand, there lies a sacred ground,
Where quaint white wreath and roughly carven rood
Tell that the toil-worn fishers rest have found,

Out in the wood, beyond the sandy reach
Of the white domes. Ah me! 'tis far to lie!
There are no northern daisies by this beach;
She had not need to come so far to die.

As when from some great ship in mid seas wreck'd,
A baby corpse is wash'd on some green isle;
For the short sleep that was so long bedeck'd
In purest lawn, and wearing still a smile;

Which finding, the dark natives, with white teeth
And plumed heads, lay cover'd in a cave, —
So leave the English lady underneath
The southern pines, beside the fisher's grave.

Through the green boughs aslant the warm sunbeams
Shall wrap her feet as in a white lace shroud, —
Surely this wealth of natural life beseems
Her better than the raindrop or the cloud.

What dim, faint gleams that symbol life unrolls
Of the great Life whereof the door is Death!
And that sweet love of Christ, that to our souls
Is sun, and light, and shade, and balmy breath!

Dying among the pines: ah, lightly lie,
White sand, that bearest nor violet, nor moss;
This earth is hallow'd under every sky,
A wreath of glory hangs on every cross.
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