The Grave of Mrs. Hemans

This her grave! Ah me! she should be sleeping
In some grass-green churchyard far away,
Where in Spring the violets are peeping,
And the birds sing through the Summer's day.

Silver rays, through bowers of ivy crawling,
At calm noon, should lie along her feet;
Folding flowers, and solemn shadows falling
At soft eve, should make her slumbers sweet.

And the wind in the tall trees should lend her
Musical delight on stormy days,
With a sound half chivalrous, half tender,
Like the echo of her own wild lays.

Was it meet to leave her in the city
Where no sun could fall upon her face?
Lift the cold, grey stone, in love and pity
Bear her out unto a fairer place.

Ah, no more — within the poet's bosom
There are gleams that mock external gloom,
Flowers expanding, like the captive's blossom,
'Twixt the flagstones of his prison room!

For this wealth of beauty all around him,
Buds that haunt him with their azure eyes,
Seas whose blue horizons scarcely bound him,
Cloud-capp'd hills that rush into the skies, —

Sunset gleams that rose-tipp'd clouds make duller,
Murmuring streams that into distance lead;
They but give his fair creations colour,
Are but symbols of the Poet's creed.

For our nature is the clay he fashions,
Finds his faith within the hearts of men,
Gives his mighty language to their passions,
Moves the soul, and lays it calm again.

Where their toils, and pleasures, and heart-burnings
Shall come round him with the busy throng;
Lay the lips that set their griefs and yearnings
To the music of his noble song.

Is not England's greatest glory granted
In the centre of her busiest life,
And her old memorial abbey haunted
With a murmur of perpetual strife?

Thousand curious, careless glances scan it,
And the corner where her poets lie,
Listening, underneath their weight of granite,
To the sea of life that surges by.

True, like fair ship in a land-lock'd haven,
Where no storm may touch the shelter'd wave,
Shakespeare, by his own immortal Avon,
Sleepeth ever in his guarded grave.

True, our Wordsworth hath not lefThis mountains,
He lies tranquil in their grand embrace,
Lull'd his ear by Rotha's silver fountains,
Rydal's shadow on his silent face.

True, the white moon, like a lonely warder,
Guards a fair tomb in a ruin'd aisle,
Where the gentle Minstrel of the Border
Hath all Dryburgh for a burial pile.

But the veriest child of Nature's teaching,
Whom she took a peasant from the plough,
Stoop'd her highest laurels to his reaching:
On her daisied bosom rests not now.

High aspiring genius, earthly troubles,
In a close, mean suburb lie asleep;
Not where silver Nith, or Cluden bubbles,
Not where banks of bonny Doune are steep.

Let the Poet lie among his brothers,
Where great words of Christian truth shall be;
He that hath most fellowship with others
Is most Christ-like in his sympathy.

And all Nature's charms, the bright, the real,
Are but shadows, though they live and move,
Of his own more beautiful ideal,
Of his dream of purity and love.

Let the golden spring-flowers streak the meadows,
Let the storm gleam on the mountain's fall,
Greater than the sunlight, or the shadows,
Is the song divine that paints them all.

Therefore leave her in the gloom and riot;
Hope and truth shall be her grave-flowers here,
Human hearts throb round her, for the quiet
Of the calm day, and the starlight clear;

For the music-breathing wind of summer
Words of love and pity shall be said;
And her own strain tell the careless comer,
Pass not lightly by our Poet's bed.
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