The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2
Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 14 out of 18


O death, when thou shalt come to me
From out thy dark, where she is now,
Come not with graveyard smell on thee,
Or withered roses on thy brow.

Come not, O Death, with hollow tone,
And soundless step, and clammy hand -
Lo, I am now no less alone
Than in thy desolate, doubtful land;

But with that sweet arid subtle scent
That ever clung about her (such
As with all things she brushed was blent);
And with her quick and tender touch.

With the dim gold that lit her hair,
Crown thyself, Death; let fall thy tread
So light that I may dream her there,
And turn upon my dying bed.

And through my chilling veins shall flame
My love, as though beneath her breath;
And in her voice but call my name,
And I will follow thee, O Death.

Henry Cuyler Bunner [1855-1896]


I shall not cry Return! Return!
Nor weep my years away;
But just as long as sunsets burn,
And dawns make no delay,
I shall be lonesome - I shall miss
Your hand, your voice, your smile, your kiss.

Not often shall I speak your name,
For what would strangers care
That once a sudden tempest came
And swept my gardens bare,
And then you passed, and in your place
Stood Silence with her lifted face.

Not always shall this parting be,
For though I travel slow,
I, too, may claim eternity
And find the way you go;
And so I do my task and wait
The opening of the outer gate.

Ellen M. H. Gates [1835-1920]


Oh! snatched away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturbed the dead!

Away! we know that tears are vain,
That Death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou, - who tell'st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.

George Gordon Byron [1788-1824]


If I had thought thou couldst have died,
I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
That thou couldst mortal be:
It never through my mind had passed
The time would e'er be o'er,
And I on thee should look my last,
And thou shouldst smile no more!

And still upon that face I look,
And think 'twill smile again;
And still the thought I will not brook,
That I must look in vain.
But when I speak - thou dost not say
What thou ne'er left'st unsaid;
And now I feel, as well I may,
Sweet Mary, thou art dead!

If thou wouldst stay, e'en as thou art,
All cold and all serene,
I still might press thy silent heart,
And where thy smiles have been.
While e'en thy chill, bleak corse I have,
Thou seemest still mine own;
But there I lay thee in thy grave, -
And I am now alone!

I do not think, where'er thou art,
Thou hast forgotten me;
And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart
In thinking, too, of thee;
Yet there was round thee such a dawn
Of light ne'er seen before,
As fancy never could have drawn,
And never can restore!

Charles Wolfe [1791-1823]


Enough! we're tired, my heart and I.
We sit beside the headstone thus,
And wish that name were carved for us.
The moss reprints more tenderly
The hard types of the mason's knife,
As Heaven's sweet life renews earth's life
With which we're tired, my heart and I.

You see we're tired, my heart and I.
We dealt with books, we trusted men,
And in our own blood drenched the pen,
As if such colors could not fly.
We walked too straight for fortune's end,
We loved too true to keep a friend;
At last we're tired, my heart and I.

How tired we feel, my heart and I
We seem of no use in the world;
Our fancies hang gray and uncurled
About men's eyes indifferently;
Our voice which thrilled you so, will let
You sleep; our tears are only wet:
What do we here, my heart and I?

So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
It was not thus in that old time
When Ralph sat with me 'neath the lime
To watch the sunset from the sky.
"Dear love, you're looking tired," he said:
I, smiling at him, shook my head.
'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.

So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
Though now none takes me on his arm
To fold me close and kiss me warm
Till each quick breath end in a sigh
Of happy languor. Now, alone,
We lean upon this graveyard stone,
Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.

Tired out we are, my heart and I.
Suppose the world brought diadems
To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures? Let it try.
We scarcely care to look at even
A pretty child, or God's blue heaven,
We feel so tired, my heart and I.

Yet who complains? My heart and I?
In this abundant earth no doubt
Is little room for things worn out:
Disdain them, break them, throw them by!
And if before the days grew rough
We once were loved, used, - well enough,
I think, we've fared, my heart and I.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning [1806-1861]

From "The Poet's Vow"

I left thee last, a child at heart,
A woman scarce in years:
I come to thee, a solemn corpse
Which neither feels nor fears.
I have no breath to use in sighs;
They laid the dead-weights on mine eyes
To seal them safe from tears.

Look on me with thine own calm look:
I meet it calm as thou.
No look of thine can change this smile,
Or break thy sinful vow:
I tell thee that my poor scorned heart
Is of thine earth - thine earth, a part:
It cannot vex thee now.

But out, alas! these words are writ
By a living, loving one,
Adown whose cheeks the proofs of life,
The warm quick tears do run:
Ah, let the unloving corpse control
Thy scorn back from the loving soul
Whose place of rest is won.

I have prayed for thee with bursting sob
When passion's course was free;
I have prayed for thee with silent lips
In the anguish none could see;
They whispered oft, "She sleepeth soft" -
But I only prayed for thee.

Go to! I pray for thee no more:
The corpse's tongue is still;
Its folded fingers point to heaven,
But point there stiff and chill:
No farther wrong, no farther woe
Hath license from the sin below
Its tranquil heart to thrill.

I charge thee, by the living's prayer,
And the dead's silentness,
To wring from out thy soul a cry
Which God shall hear and bless!
Lest Heaven's own palm droop in my hand,
And pale among the saints I stand,
A saint companionless.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning [1806-1861]


I'm sittin' on the stile, Mary,
Where we sat side by side
On a bright May mornin' long ago,
When first you were my bride.
The corn was springin' fresh and green,
And the lark sang loud and high,
And the red was on your lip, Mary,
And the love-light in your eye.

The place is little changed, Mary,
The day is bright as then,
The lark's loud song is in my ear,
And the corn is green again;
But I miss the soft clasp of your hand,
And your breath, warm on my cheek:
And I still keep list'nin' for the words
You never more will speak.

'Tis but a step down yonder lane,
And the little church stands near -
The church where we were wed, Mary;
I see the spire from here.
But the graveyard lies between, Mary,
And my step might break your rest -
For I've laid you, darling, down to sleep,
With your baby on your breast.

I'm very lonely now, Mary,
For the poor make no new friends;
But, oh! they love the better still
The few our Father sends.
And you were all I had, Mary,
My blessin' and my pride:
There's nothin' left to care for now,
Since my poor Mary died.

Yours was the good, brave heart, Mary,
That still kept hoping on,
When the trust in God had left my soul,
And my arm's young strength was gone;
There was comfort ever on your lip,
And the kind look on your brow -
I bless you, Mary, for that same,
Though you cannot hear me now.

I thank you for the patient smile
When your heart was fit to break,
When the hunger pain was gnawin' there,
And you hid it for my sake;
I bless you for the pleasant word,
When your heart was sad and sore -
Oh! I'm thankful you are gone, Mary,
Where grief can't reach you more!

I'm biddin' you a long farewell,
My Mary - kind and true!
But I'll not forget you, darling,
In the land I'm goin' to:
They say there's bread and work for all,
And the sun shines always there,
But I'll not forget old Ireland,
Were it fifty times as fair!

And often in those grand old woods
I'll sit, and shut my eyes,
And my heart will travel back again
To the place where Mary lies;
And I'll think I see the little stile
Where we sat side by side,
And the springin' corn, and the bright May morn,
When first you were my bride.

Helen Selina Sheridan [1807-1867]


Word was brought to the Danish king
That the love of his heart lay suffering,
And pined for the comfort his voice would bring;
(O, ride as though you were flying!)
Better he loves each golden curl
On the brow of that Scandinavian girl
Than his rich crown jewels of ruby and pearl:
And his rose of the isles is dying!

Thirty nobles saddled with speed;
Each one mounting a gallant steed
Which he kept for battle and days of need;
(O, ride as though you were flying!)
Spurs were struck in the foaming flank;
Worn-out chargers staggered and sank;
Bridles were slackened, and girths were burst;
But ride as they would, the king rode first,
For his rose of the isles lay dying!

His nobles are beaten, one by one;
They have fainted, and faltered, and homeward gone;
His little fair page now follows alone,
For strength and for courage trying!
The king looked back at that faithful child;
Wan was the face that answering smiled;
They passed the drawbridge with clattering din,
Then he dropped; and only the king rode in
Where his rose of the isles lay dying!

The king blew a blast on his bugle horn;
No answer came; but faint and forlorn
An echo returned on the cold gray morn,
Like the breath of a spirit sighing.
The castle portal stood grimly wide;
None welcomed the king from that weary ride;
For dead, in the light of the dawning day,
The pale sweet form of the welcomer lay,
Who had yearned for his voice while dying!

The panting steed, with a drooping crest,
Stood weary.
The king returned from her chamber of rest,
The thick sobs choking in his breast;
And, that dumb companion eyeing,
The tears gushed forth which he strove to check;
He bowed his head on his charger's neck:
"O steed, that every nerve didst strain,
Dear steed, our ride hath been in vain
To the halls where my love lay dying!"

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton [1808-1870]


A rose for a young head,
A ring for a bride,
Joy for the homestead
Clean and wide -
Who's that waiting
In the rain outside?

A heart for an old friend,
A hand for the new:
Love can to earth lend
Heaven's hue -
Who's that standing
In the silver dew?

A smile for the parting,
A tear as they go,
God's sweethearting
Ends just so -
Who's that watching
Where the black winds blow?

He who is waiting
In the rain outside,
He who is standing
Where the dew drops wide,
He who is watching
In the wind must ride
(Though the pale hands cling)
With the rose
And the ring
And the bride,
Must ride
With the red of the rose,
And the gold of the ring,
And the lips and the hair of the bride.

James Stephens [1882-


Gone are those three, those sisters rare
With wonder-lips and eyes ashine.
One was wise and one was fair,
And one was mine.

Ye mourners, weave for the sleeping hair
Of only two your ivy vine.
For one was wise and one was fair,
But one was mine.

Arthur Davison Ficke [1883-


He said: "The shadows darken down,
The night is near at hand.
Now who's the friend will follow me
Into the sunless land?

"For I have vassals leal and true,
And I have comrades kind,
And wheresoe'er my soul shall speed,
They will not stay behind."

He sought the brother young and blithe
Who bore his spear and shield:
"In the long chase you've followed me,
And in the battle-field.

"Few vows you make; but true's your heart,
And you with me will win."
He said: "God speed you, brother mine,
But I am next of kin."

He sought the friar, the gray old priest
Who loved his father's board.
The friar he turned him to the east
And reverently adored.

He said: "A godless name you bear,
A godless life you've led,
And whoso wins along with you,
His spirit shall have dread.

"Oh, hasten, get your guilty soul
From every burden shriven;
Yet you are bound for flame and dole,
But I am bound for heaven."

He sought the lady bright and proud,
Who sate at his right hand:
"Make haste, O Love, to follow me
Into the sunless land."

She said: "And pass you in your prime?
Heaven give me days of cheer!
And keep me from the sunless clime
Many and many a year."

All heavily the sun sank down
Among black clouds of fate.
There came a woman fair and wan
Unto the castle gate.

Through gazing vassals, idle serfs,
So silently she sped!
The winding staircase echoed not
Unto her light, light tread.

His lady eyed her scornfully.
She stood at his right hand;
She said: "And I will follow you
Into the sunless land.

"There is no expiation, none.
A bitter load I bore:
Now I shall love you nevermore,
Never and nevermore.

"There is no touch or tone of yours
Can make the old love wake."
She said: "But I will follow you,
Even for the old love's sake."

Oh, he has kissed her on the brow,
He took her by the hand:
Into the sunless land they went,
Into the starless land.

May Kendall [1861-

From "Maud"

O that 'twere possible
After long grief and pain
To find the arms of my true love
Round me once again!

When I was wont to meet her
In the silent moody places
Of the land that gave me birth,
We stood tranced in long embraces
Mixed with kisses sweeter, sweeter
Than anything on earth.

A shadow flits before me,
Not thou, but like to thee.
Ah, Christ, that it were possible
For one short hour to see
The souls we loved, that they might tell us
What and where they be!

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]

From "The Princess"

Home they brought her warrior dead;
She nor swooned, nor uttered cry.
All her maidens, watching, said,
"She must weep or she will die."

Then they praised him, soft and low,
Called him worthy to be loved,
Truest friend and noblest foe;
Yet she neither spoke nor moved.

Stole a maiden from her place,
Lightly to the warrior stepped,
Took the face-cloth from the face;
Yet she neither moved nor wept.

Rose a nurse of ninety years,
Set his child upon her knee, -
Like summer tempest came her tears,
"Sweet my child, I live for thee."

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


Beautiful Evelyn Hope is dead!
Sit and watch by her side an hour.
That is her book-shelf, this her bed;
She plucked that piece of geranium-flower,
Beginning to die too, in the glass.
Little has yet been changed, I think:
The shutters are shut, no light may pass
Save two long rays through the hinge's chink.

Sixteen years old when she died!
Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name;
It was not her time to love; beside,
Her life had many a hope and aim,
Duties enough and little cares,
And now was quiet, now astir,
Till God's hand beckoned unawares, -
And the sweet white brow is all of her.

Is it too late, then, Evelyn Hope?
What, your soul was pure and true,
The good stars met in your horoscope,
Made you of spirit, fire, and dew -
And, just because I was thrice as old,
And our paths in the world diverged so wide,
Each was naught to each, must I be told?
We were fellow mortals, naught beside?

No, indeed! for God above
Is great to grant, as mighty to make,
And creates the love to reward the love:
I claim you still, for my own love's sake!
Delayed, it may be, for more lives yet,
Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few:
Much is to learn, much to forget
Ere the time be come for taking you.

But the time will come, - at last it will,
When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say)
In the lower earth, in the years long still,
That body and soul so pure and gay?
Why your hair was amber, I shall divine,
And your mouth of your own geranium's red, -
And what you would do with me, in fine,
In the new life come in the old one's stead.

I have lived (I shall say) so much since then,
Given up myself so many times,
Gained me the gains of various men,
Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;
Yet one thing, one, in my soul's full scope,
Either I missed or itself missed me:
And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope!
What is the issue? let us see!

I loved you, Evelyn, all the while!
My heart seemed full as it could hold;
There was place and to spare for the frank young smile,
And the red young mouth, and the hair's young gold.
So, hush, - I will give you this leaf to keep:
See, I shut it inside the sweet, cold hand!
There, that is our secret: go to sleep!
You will wake, and remember, and understand.

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


Cold in the earth - and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart for ever, ever more?

Cold in the earth - and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring:
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy;
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion -
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?

Emily Bronte [1818-1848]


The linnet in the rocky dells,
The moor-lark in the air,
The bee among the heather bells
That hide my lady fair:

The wild deer browse above her breast;
The wild birds raise their brood;
And they, her smiles of love caressed,
Have left her solitude.

I ween that, when the grave's dark wall
Did first her form retain,
They thought their hearts could ne'er recall
The light of joy again.

They thought the tide of grief would flow
Unchecked through future years;
But where is all their anguish now,
And where are all their tears?

Well, let them fight for honor's breath,
Or pleasure's shade pursue:
The dweller in the land of death
Is changed and careless too.

And, if their eyes should watch and weep
Till sorrow's source were dry,
She would not, in her tranquil sleep,
Return a single sigh.

Blow, west-wind, by the lonely mound,
And murmur, summer streams!
There is no need of other sound
To soothe my lady's dreams.

Emily Bronte [1818-1848]

From "Supper at the Mill"

When sparrows build, and the leaves break forth,
My old sorrow wakes and cries,
For I know there is dawn in the far, far north,
And a scarlet sun doth rise;
Like a scarlet fleece the snow-field spreads,
And the icy founts run free,
And the bergs begin to bow their heads,
And plunge, and sail in the sea.

O my lost love, and my own, own love,
And my love that loved me so!
Is there never a chink in the world above
Where they listen for words from below?
Nay, I spoke once, and I grieved thee sore,
I remember all that I said,
And now thou wilt hear me no more - no more
Till the sea gives up her dead.

Thou didst set thy foot on the ship, and sail
To the ice-fields and the snow;
Thou wert sad, for thy love did naught avail,
And the end I could not know;
How could I tell I should love thee to-day,
Whom that day I held not dear?
How could I know I should love thee away
When I did not love thee anear?

We shall walk no more through the sodden plain
With the faded bents o'erspread,
We shall stand no more by the seething main
While the dark wrack drives o'erhead;
We shall part no more in the wind and the rain,
Where thy last farewell was said;
But perhaps I shall meet thee and know thee again
When the sea gives up her dead.

Jean Ingelow [1820-1897]


Strew on her roses, roses,
And never a spray of yew!
In quiet she reposes:
Ah! would that I did too.

Her mirth the world required:
She bathed it in smiles of glee.
But her heart was tired, tired,
And now they let her be.

Her life was turning, turning,
In mazes of heat and sound.
But for peace her soul was yearning,
And now peace laps her round.

Her cabined, ample Spirit,
It fluttered and failed for breath.
To-night it doth inherit
The vasty hall of Death.

Matthew Arnold [1822-1888]


Could ye come back to me, Douglas, Douglas,
In the old likeness that I knew,
I would be so faithful, so loving, Douglas,
Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.

Never a scornful word should grieve ye,
I'd smile on ye sweet as the angels do:
Sweet as your smile on me shone ever,
Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.

Oh, to call back the days that are not!
My eyes were blinded, your words were few:
Do you know the truth now, up in heaven,
Douglas, Douglas, tender and true?

I never was worthy of you, Douglas;
Not half worthy the like of you:
Now all men beside seem to me like shadows -
I love you, Douglas, tender and true.

Stretch out your hand to me, Douglas, Douglas,
Drop forgiveness from heaven like dew;
As I lay my heart on your dead heart, Douglas,
Douglas, Douglas, tender and true!

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik [1826-1887]


At the Midsummer, when the hay was down,
Said I mournful - Though my life be in its prime,
Bare lie my meadows all shorn before their time,
O'er my sere woodlands the leaves are turning brown;
It is the hot Midsummer, when the hay is down.

At the Midsummer, when the hay was down,
Stood she by the brooklet, young and very fair,
With the first white bindweed twisted in her hair -
Hair that drooped like birch-boughs, all in her simple gown -
That eve in high Midsummer, when the hay was down.

At the Midsummer, when the hay was down,
Crept she a willing bride close into my breast;
Low-piled the thunder-clouds had sunk into the west,
Red-eyed the sun out-glared like knight from leaguered town;
It was the high Midsummer, and the sun was down.

It is Midsummer - all the hay is down,
Close to her forehead press I dying eyes,
Praying God shield her till we meet in Paradise,
Bless her in love's name who was my joy and crown,
And I go at Midsummer, when the hay is down.

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik [1826-1887]


On the Sabbath-day,
Through the churchyard old and gray,
Over the crisp and yellow leaves, I held my rustling way;
And amid the words of mercy, falling on my soul like balms;
'Mid the gorgeous storms of music - in the mellow organ calms,
'Mid the upward streaming prayers, and the rich and solemn psalms,
I stood careless, Barbara.

My heart was otherwhere
While the organ shook the air,
And the priest, with outspread hands, blessed the people with a prayer;
But, when rising to go homeward, with a mild and saint-like shine
Gleamed a face of airy beauty with its heavenly eyes on mine -
Gleamed and vanished in a moment - O that face was surely thine
Out of heaven, Barbara!

O pallid, pallid face!
O earnest eyes of grace!
When last I saw thee, dearest, it was in another place.
You came running forth to meet me with my love-gift on your wrist:
The flutter of a long white dress, then all was lost in mist -
A purple stain of agony was on the mouth I kissed,
That wild morning, Barbara!

I searched in my despair,
Sunny noon and midnight air;
I could not drive away the thought that you were lingering there.
O many and many a winter night I sat when you were gone,
My worn face buried in my hands, beside the fire alone.
Within the dripping churchyard, the rain plashing on your stone,
You were sleeping, Barbara.

'Mong angels, do you think
Of the precious golden link
I clasped around your happy arm while sitting by yon brink?
Or when that night of gliding dance, of laughter and guitars,
Was emptied of its music, and we watched, through lattice-bars,
The silent midnight heaven creeping o'er us with its stars,
Till the day broke, Barbara?

In the years I've changed;
Wild and far my heart has ranged,
And many sins and errors now have been on me avenged;
But to you I have been faithful, whatsoever good I lacked:
I loved you, and above my life still hangs that love intact -
Your love the trembling rainbow, I the reckless cataract.
Still I love you, Barbara!

Yet, love, I am unblest;
With many doubts oppressed,
I wander like a desert wind, without a place of rest.
Could I but win you for an hour from off that starry shore,
The hunger of my soul were stilled, for Death hath told you more
Than the melancholy world doth know; things deeper than all lore
Will you teach me, Barbara?

In vain, in vain, in vain!
You will never come again.
There droops upon the dreary hills a mournful fringe of rain;
The gloaming closes slowly round, loud winds are in the tree,
Round selfish shores for ever moans the hurt and wounded sea,
There is no rest upon the earth, peace is with Death and thee,

Alexander Smith [1830-1867]


When I am dead, my dearest.
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress-tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember
And haply may forget.

Christina Georgina Rossetti [1830-1894]

From "Chaitivel"

Hath any loved you well, down there,
Summer or winter through?
Down there, have you found any fair
Laid in the grave with you?
Is death's long kiss a richer kiss
Than mine was wont to be -
Or have you gone to some far bliss
And quite forgotten me?

What soft enamoring of sleep
Hath you in some soft way?
What charmed death holdeth you with deep
Strange lure by night and day?
- A little space below the grass,
Out of the sun and shade;
But worlds away from me, alas,
Down there where you are laid?

My bright hair's waved and wasted gold,
What is it now to thee -
Whether the rose-red life I hold
Or white death holdeth me?
Down there you love the grave's own green,
And evermore you rave
Of some sweet seraph you have seen
Or dreamt of in the grave.

There you shall lie as you have lain,
Though in the world above,
Another life you live again,
Loving again your love:
Is it not sweet beneath the palm?
Is not the warm day rife
With some long mystic golden calm
Better than love and life?

The broad quaint odorous leaves like hands
Weaving the fair day through,
Weave sleep no burnished bird withstands,
While death weaves sleep for you;
And many a strange rich breathing sound
Ravishes morn and noon:
And in that place you must have found
Death a delicious swoon.

Hold me no longer for a word
I used to say or sing:
Ah, long ago you must have heard
So many a sweeter thing:
For rich earth must have reached your heart
And turned the faith to flowers;
And warm wind stolen, part by part,
Your soul through faithless hours.

And many a soft seed must have won
Soil of some yielding thought,
To bring a bloom up to the sun
That else had ne'er been brought;
And, doubtless, many a passionate hue
Hath made that place more fair,
Making some passionate part of you
Faithless to me down there.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy [1844-1884]


In the wild autumn weather, when the rain was on the sea,
And the boughs sobbed together, Death came and spake to me:
"Those red drops of thy heart I have come to take from thee;
As the storm sheds the rose, so thy love shall broken be,"
Said Death to me.

Then I stood straight and fearless while the rain was in the wave,
And I spake low and tearless: "When thou hast made my grave,
Those red drops from my heart then thou shalt surely have;
But the rose keeps its bloom, as I my love will save
All for my grave."

In the wild autumn weather a dread sword slipped from its sheath;
While the boughs sobbed together, I fought a fight with Death,
And I vanquished him with prayer, and I vanquished him by faith:
Now the summer air is sweet with the rose's fragrant breath
That conquered Death.

Rosa Mulholland [18 -1921]


Thou wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine:
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out of the Future cries,
"On! on!" - but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast.

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
No more - no more - no more -
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar.

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams -
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849]


It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love,
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me;
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we,
Of many far wiser than we;
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling - my darling - my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849]


Thank Heaven! the crisis -
The danger is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last -
And the fever called "Living"
Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know
I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
As I lie at full length:
But no matter - I feel
I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly
Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
Might fancy me dead -
Might start at beholding me,
Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,
The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
With that horrible throbbing
At heart - ah, that horrible,
Horrible throbbing!

The sickness - the nausea -
The pitiless pain -
Have ceased, with the fever
That maddened my brain -
With the fever called "Living"
That burned in my brain.

And O! of all tortures
That torture the worst
Has abated - the terrible
Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
Of Passion accurst -
I have drunk of a water
That quenches all thirst,

- Of a water that flows,
With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
Feet under ground -
From a cavern not very far
Down under ground.

And ah! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy,
And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
In a different bed -
And, to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit
Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
Regretting, its roses -
Its old agitations
Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly
Lying, it fancies
A holier odor
About it, of pansies -
A rosemary odor,
Commingled with pansies -
With rue and the beautiful
Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,
Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
And the beauty of Annie -
Drowned in a bath
Of the tresses of Annie.

She tenderly kissed me,
She fondly caressed,
And then I fell gently
To sleep on her breast -
Deeply to sleep
From the heaven of her breast.

When the light was extinguished,
She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
To keep me from harm -
To the queen of the angels
To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,
Now, in my bed
(Knowing her love),
That you fancy me dead -
And I rest so contentedly,
Now, in my bed
(With her love at my breast),
That you fancy me dead -
That you shudder to look at me,
Thinking me dead.

But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie -
It glows with the light
Of the love of my Annie -
With the thought, of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie.

Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849]


Here is the place; right over the hill
Runs the path I took;
You can see the gap in the old wall still,
And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.

There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
And the poplars tall;
And the barn's brown length, and the cattle-yard,
And the white horns tossing above the wall.

There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
And down by the brink
Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o'errun,
Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.

A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
And the same brook sings of a year ago.

There's the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
And the June sun warm
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.

I mind me how with a lover's care
From my Sunday coat
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.

Since we parted, a month had passed, -
To love, a year;
Down through the beeches I looked at last
On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.

I can see it all now, - the slantwise rain
Of light through the leaves,
The sundown's blaze on her window-pane,
The bloom of her roses under the eaves.

Just the same as a month before, -
The house and the trees,
The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door, -
Nothing changed but the hives of bees.

Before them, under the garden wall,
Forward and back,
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
Draping each hive with a shred of black.

Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
Gone on the journey we all must go!

Then I said to myself, "My Mary weeps
For the dead to-day:
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
The fret and the pain of his age away."

But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill
With his cane to his chin,
The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
Sung to the bees stealing out and in.

And the song she was singing ever since
In my ears sounds on: -
"Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
Mistress Mary is dead and gone!"

John Greenleaf Whittier [1807-1892]


I will not break the tryst, my dear,
That we have kept so long,
Though winter and its snows are here,
And I've no heart for song.

You went into the voiceless night;
Your path led far away.
Did you forget me, Heart's Delight,
As night forgets the day?

Sometimes I think that you would speak
If still you held me dear;
But space is vast, and I am weak -
Perchance I do not hear.

Surely, howe'er remote the star
Your wandering feet may tread,
When I shall pass the sundering bar
Our souls must still be wed.

Louise Chandler Moulton [1835-1908]


Round among the quiet graves,
When the sun was low,
Love went grieving, - Love who saves:
Did the sleepers know?

At his touch the flowers awoke,
At his tender call
Birds into sweet singing broke,
And it did befall

From the blooming, bursting sod
All Love's dead arose,
And went flying up to God
By a way Love knows.

Louise Chandler Moulton [1835-1908]


Only to find Forever, blest
By thine encircling arm;
Only to lie beyond unrest
In passion's dreamy calm!

Only to meet and never part,
To sleep and never wake, -
Heart unto heart and soul to soul,
Dead for each other's sake.

Martha Gilbert Dickinson [18 -


Oh, loosen the snood that you wear, Janette,
Let me tangle a hand in your hair - my pet;
For the world to me had no daintier sight
Than your brown hair veiling your shoulders white;
Your beautiful dark brown hair - my pet.

It was brown with a golden gloss, Janette,
It was finer than silk of the floss - my pet;
'Twas a beautiful mist falling down to your wrist,
'Twas a thing to be braided, and jewelled, and kissed -
'Twas the loveliest hair in the world - my pet.

My arm was the arm of a clown, Janette,
It was sinewy, bristled, and brown - my pet;
But warmly and softly it loved to caress
Your round white neck and your wealth of tress,
Your beautiful plenty of hair - my pet.

Your eyes had a swimming glory, Janette.
Revealing the old, dear story - my pet;
They were gray with that chastened tinge of the sky
When the trout leaps quickest to snap the fly,
And they matched with your golden hair - my pet.

Your lips - but I have no words, Janette -
They were fresh as the twitter of birds - my pet,
When the spring is young, and the roses are wet,
With the dewdrops in each red bosom set,
And they suited your gold brown hair - my pet.

Oh, you tangled my life in your hair, Janette,
'Twas a silken and golden snare - my pet;
But, so gentle the bondage, my soul did implore
The right to continue your slave evermore,
With my fingers enmeshed in your hair - my pet.

Thus ever I dream what you were, Janette,
With your lips, and your eyes, and your hair - my pet,
In the darkness of desolate years I moan,
And my tears fall bitterly over the stone
That covers your golden hair - my pet.

Charles Graham Halpine [1829-1868]


The grass that is under me now
Will soon be over me, Sweet;
When you walk this way again
I shall not hear your feet.

You may walk this way again,
And shed your tears like dew;
They will be no more to me then
Than mine are now to you!

Richard Henry Stoddard [1825-1903]


When the grass shall cover me,
Head to foot where I am lying;
When not any wind that blows,
Summer blooms nor winter snows,
Shall awake me to your sighing:
Close above me as you pass,
You will say, "How kind she was,"
You will say, "How true she was,"
When the grass grows over me.

When the grass shall cover me,
Holden close to earth's warm bosom, -
While I laugh, or weep, or sing,
Nevermore, for anything,
You will find in blade and blossom,
Sweet small voices, odorous,
Tender pleaders in my cause,
That shall speak me as I was -
When the grass grows over me.

When the grass shall cover me!
Ah, beloved, in my sorrow
Very patient, I can wait,
Knowing that, or soon or late,
There will dawn a clearer morrow:
When your heart will moan "Alas!
Now I know how true she was;
Now I know how dear she was" -
When the grass grows over me!

Ina Donna Coolbrith [1842-1928]


When the lean, gray grasses
Cover me, bury me deep,
No sea wind that passes
Shall break my sleep.

When you come, my lover,
Sorrowful-eyed to me,
Earth mine eyes will cover;
I shall not see.

Though with sad words splendid,
Praising, you call me dear,
It will be all ended;
I shall not hear.

You may live love's riot
Laughingly over my head,
But I shall lie quiet
With the gray dead.

Love, you will not wake me
With all your singing carouse.
Nor your dancing shake me
In my dark house.

Though you should go weeping,
Sorrowful for my sake,
Fain to break my sleeping,
I could not wake.

Now, ere time destroy us -
Shadows beneath and above;
Death has no song joyous,
Nor dead men love -

Now, while deep-eyed, golden,
Love on the mountain sings,
Let him be close holden;
Fetter his wings.

Love, nor joy nor sorrow
Troubles the end of day.
Leave the Fates to-morrow;
Give Love to-day.

Ethel Talbot [18 -


Make me no vows of constancy, dear friend,
To love me, though I die, thy whole life long,
And love no other till thy days shall end -
Nay, it were rash and wrong.

If thou canst love another, be it so;
I would not reach out of my quiet grave
To bind thy heart, if it should choose to go -
Love should not be a slave.

My placid ghost, I trust, will walk serene
In clearer light than gilds those earthly morns,
Above the jealousies and envies keen,
Which sow this life with thorns.

Thou wouldst not feel my shadowy caress;
If, after death, my soul should linger here;
Men's hearts crave tangible, close tenderness,
Love's presence, warm and near.

It would not make me sleep more peacefully
That thou wert wasting all thy life in woe
For my poor sake; what love thou hast for me,
Bestow it ere I go.

Carve not upon a stone when I am dead
The praises which remorseful mourners give
To women's graves - a tardy recompense -
But speak them while I live.

Heap not the heavy marble o'er my head
To shut away the sunshine and the dew;
Let small blooms grow there, and let grasses wave,
And raindrops filter through.

Thou wilt meet many fairer and more gay
Than I; but, trust me, thou canst never find
One who will love and serve thee night and day
With a more single mind.

Forget me when I die! The violets
Above my breast will blossom just as blue,
Nor miss thy tears; e'en nature's self forgets;
But while I live, be true.

Elizabeth Akers [1832-1911]


I loved thee long and dearly,
Florence Vane;
My life's bright dream and early
Hath come again;
I renew in my fond vision,
My heart's dear pain -
My hopes, and thy derision,
Florence Vane.

The ruin, lone and hoary,
The ruin old,
Where thou didst hark my story,
At even told -
That spot - the hues Elysian
Of sky and plain -
I treasure in my vision,
Florence Vane.

Thou wast lovelier than the roses
In their prime;
Thy voice excelled the closes
Of sweetest rhyme;
Thy heart was as a river
Without a main.
Would I had loved thee never,
Florence Vane!

But, fairest, coldest wonder!
Thy glorious clay
Lieth the green sod under -
Alas, the day!
And it boots not to remember
Thy disdain,
To quicken love's pale ember,
Florence Vane.

The lilies of the valley
By young graves weep;
The daisies love to dally
Where maidens sleep.
May their bloom, in beauty vying,
Never wane
Where thine earthly part is lying,
Florence Vane!

Philip Pendleton Cooke [1816-1850]


If spirits walk, love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the selfsame way
To the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,
Sheer, graveled slope, where vetches straggling grow.
Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,
When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;
I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,
If spirits walk.

But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,
And when their breath plays with thy bright hair so
As some one's fingers once were used to play -
That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,
Keep the old tryst, sweetheart, and thou shalt know
If spirits walk.

Sophie Jewett [1861-1909]


Tread lightly, she is near,
Under the snow;
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.

All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.

Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.

Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast;
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.

Peace, peace; she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet;
All my life's buried here -
Heap earth upon it.

Oscar Wilde [1856-1900]

Ah, dans ces mornes sejours
Les jamais sont les toujours. - Paul Verlaine

You would have understood me, had you waited;
I could have loved you, dear! as well as he;
Had we not been impatient, dear! and fated
Always to disagree.

What is the use of speech? Silence were fitter:
Lest we should still be wishing things unsaid.
Though all the words we ever spake were bitter,
Shall I reproach you dead?

Nay, let this earth, your portion, likewise cover
All the old anger, setting us apart:
Always, in all, in truth was I your lover;
Always, I held your heart.

I have met other women who were tender,
As you were cold, dear! with a grace as rare.
Think you I turned to them, or made surrender,
I who had found you fair?

Had we been patient, dear! ah, had you waited,
I had fought death for you, better than he:
But from the very first, dear! we, were fated
Always to disagree.

Late, late, I come to you, now death discloses
Love that in life was not to be our part:
On your low-lying mound between the roses,
Sadly I cast my heart.

I would not waken you: nay! this is fitter;
Death and the darkness give you unto me;
Here we who loved so, were so cold and bitter,
Hardly can disagree.

Ernest Dowson [1867-1900]


My Love dwelt in a Northern land.
A gray tower in a forest green
Was hers, and far on either hand
The long wash of the waves was seen,
And leagues and leagues of yellow sand,
The woven forest boughs between!

And through the silver Northern night
The sunset slowly died away,
And herds of strange deer, lily-white,
Stole forth among the branches gray;
About the coming of the light,
They fled like ghosts before the day!

I know not if the forest green
Still girdles round that castle gray;
I know not if the boughs between
The white deer vanish ere the day;
Above my Love the grass is green,
My heart is colder than the clay!

Andrew Lang [1844-1912]


Good-night, dear friend! I say good-night to thee
Across the moonbeams, tremulous and white,
Bridging all space between us, it may be.
Lean low, sweet friend; it is the last good-night.

For, lying low upon my couch, and still,
The fever flush evanished from my face,
I heard them whisper softly, "'Tis His will;
Angels will give her happier resting-place!"

And so from sight of tears that fell like rain,
And sounds of sobbing smothered close and low,
I turned my white face to the window-pane,
To say good-night to thee before I go.

Good-night! good-night! I do not fear the end,
The conflict with the billows dark and high;
And yet, if I could touch thy hand, my friend,
I think it would be easier to die;

If I could feel through all the quiet waves
Of my deep hair thy tender breath a-thrill,
I could go downward to the place of graves
With eyes a-shine and pale lips smiling still;

Or it may be that, if through all the strife
And pain of parting I should hear thy call,
I would come singing back to sweet, sweet life,
And know no mystery of death at all.

It may not be. Good-night, dear friend, good-night!
And when you see the violets again,
And hear, through boughs with swollen buds a-white,
The gentle falling of the April rain,

Remember her whose young life held thy name
With all things holy, in its outward flight,
And turn sometimes from busy haunts of men
To hear again her low good-night! good-night!

Hester A. Benedict [18 -


Bury me deep when I am dead,
Far from the woods where sweet birds sing;
Lap me in sullen stone and lead,
Lest my poor dust should feel the Spring.

Never a flower be near me set,
Nor starry cup nor slender stem,
Anemone nor violet,
Lest my poor dust remember them.

And you - wherever you may fare -
Dearer than birds, or flowers, or dew -
Never, ah me, pass never there,
Lest my poor dust should dream of you.

Rosamund Marriott Watson [1863-1911]


Wind of the North,
Wind of the Norland snows,
Wind of the winnowed skies and sharp, clear stars -
Blow cold and keen across the naked hills,
And crisp the lowland pools with crystal films,
And blur the casement-squares with glittering ice,
But go not near my love.

Wind of the West,
Wind of the few, far clouds,
Wind of the gold and crimson sunset lands -
Blow fresh and pure across the peaks and plains,
And broaden the blue spaces of the heavens,
And sway the grasses and the mountain pines,
But let my dear one rest.

Wind of the East,
Wind of the sunrise seas,
Wind of the clinging mists and gray, harsh rains -
Blow moist and chill across the wastes of brine,
And shut the sun out, and the moon and stars,
And lash the boughs against the dripping eaves,
Yet keep thou from my love.

But thou, sweet wind!
Wind of the fragrant South,
Wind from the bowers of jasmine and of rose! -
Over magnolia glooms and lilied lakes
And flowering forests come with dewy wings,
And stir the petals at her feet, and kiss
The low mound where she lies.

Charles Henry Luders [1858-1891]


Good my King, in your garden close,
(Hark to the thrush's trilling)
Why so sad when the maiden rose
Love at your feet is spilling?
Golden the air and honey-sweet,
Sapphire the sky, it is not meet
Sorrowful faces should flowers greet,
(Hark to the thrush's trilling).

All alone walks the King to-day.
(Hark to the thrush's trilling)
Far from his throne he steals away
Loneness and quiet willing.
Roses and tulips and lilies fair
Smile for his pleasure everywhere,
Yet of their joyance he takes no share,
(Hark to the thrush's trilling).

Ladies wait in the palace, Sire,
(Hark to the thrush's trilling)
Red and white for the king's desire,
Love-warm and sweet and thrilling;
Breasts of moonshine and hair of night,
Glances amorous, soft and bright,
Nothing is lacking for your delight,
(Hark to the thrush's trilling).

Kneels the King in a grassy place,
(Hark to the thrush's trilling)
Little flowers under his face
With his warm tears are filling.
Says the King, "Here my heart lies dead
Where my fair love is buried,
Would I were lying here instead!"
(Hark to the thrush's trilling).

Joyce Kilmer [1886-1918]


Amid the chapel's chequered gloom
She laughed with Dora and with Flora,
And chattered in the lecture-room, -
That saucy little sophomora!
Yet while, as in her other schools,
She was a privileged transgressor,
She never broke the simple rules
Of one particular professor.

But when he spoke of varied lore,
Paroxytones and modes potential,
She listened with a face that wore
A look half fond, half reverential.
To her, that earnest voice was sweet,
And, though her love had no confessor,
Her girlish heart lay at the feet
Of that particular professor.

And he had learned, among his books
That held the lore of ages olden,
To watch those ever-changing looks,
The wistful eyes, the tresses golden,
That stirred his pulse with passion's pain
And thrilled his soul with soft desire,
And bade fond youth return again,
Crowned with its coronet of fire.

Her sunny smile, her winsome ways,
Were more to him than all his knowledge,
And she preferred his words of praise
To all the honors of the college.
Yet "What am foolish I to him?"
She whispered to her heart's confessor.
"She thinks me old and gray and grim,"
In silence pondered the professor.

Yet once when Christmas bells were rung
Above ten thousand solemn churches,
And swelling anthems grandly sung
Pealed through the dim cathedral arches, -
Ere home returning, filled with hope,
Softly she stole by gate and gable,
And a sweet spray of heliotrope
Left on his littered study-table.

Nor came she more from day to day
Like sunshine through the shadows rifting:
Above her grave, far, far away,
The ever-silent snows were drifting;
And those who mourned her winsome face
Found in its stead a swift successor
And loved another in her place -
All, save the silent old professor.

But, in the tender twilight gray,
Shut from the sight of carping critic,
His lonely thoughts would often stray
From Vedic verse and tongues Semitic,
Bidding the ghost of vanished hope
Mock with its past the sad possessor
Of the dead spray of heliotrope
That once she gave the old professor.

Harry Thurston Peck [1856-1914]


Lydia is gone this many a year,
Yet when the lilacs stir,
In the old gardens far or near,
This house is full of her.

They climb the twisted chamber stair;
Her picture haunts the room;
On the carved shelf beneath it there,
They heap the purple bloom.

A ghost so long has Lydia been,
Her cloak upon the wall,
Broidered, and gilt, and faded green,
Seems not her cloak at all.

The book, the box on mantle laid,
The shells in a pale row,
Are those of some dim little maid,
A thousand years ago.

And yet the house is full of her;
She goes and comes again;
And longings thrill, and memories stir,
Like lilacs in the rain.

Out in their yards the neighbors walk,
Among the blossoms tall;
Of Anne, of Phyllis do they talk,
Of Lydia not at all.

Lizette Woodworth Reese [1856-1935]


Oh, the littles that remain!
Scent of mint out in the lane;
Flare of window, sound of bees; -
These, but these.

Three times sitting down to bread;
One time climbing up to bed;
Table-setting o'er and o'er;
Drying herbs for winter's store;
This thing; that thing; - nothing more.

But just now out in the lane,
Oh, the scent of mint was plain!

Lizette Woodworth Reese [1856-1935]



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