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Poems on Death.
A SUMMER EVENING CHURCHYARD.
THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.
They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Thou too, aërial Pile! whose pinnacles
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres :
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around,
Thus solemnised 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
Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep
That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.
YE hasten to the dead! What seek ye there,
Of the idle brain, which the world's livery wear?
Thou vainly curious mind which wouldest guess
With such swift feet life's green and pleasant path, Seeking alike from happiness and woe
A refuge in the cavern of grey death?
O heart, and mind, and thoughts! What thing do you Hope to inherit in the grave below?
LIFT not the painted veil which those who live
With colours idly spread,—behind, lurk Fear
THE rude wind is singing
THE babe is at peace within the womb,
THE DIRGE OF GINEVRA.
OLD winter was gone
In his weakness back to the mountains hoar,
From the planet that hovers upon the shore
On the limits of wintry night;—
If the land, and the air, and the sea
She is still, she is cold
On the bridal couch,
One step to the white death-bed,
And one to the bier,
And one to the charnel—and one, O where ?
The dark arrow fled
In the noon.
Ere the sun through heaven once more has rolled, The rats in her heart
Will have made their nest,
And the worms be alive in her golden hair,
While the spirit that guides the sun,
Sits throned in his flaming chair,
THE DIRGE OF BEATRICE.
FALSE friend, wilt thou smile or weep
What is this whispers low?
There is a snake in thy smile, my dear; And bitter poison within thy tear.
Sweet sleep, were death like to thee,
Listen to the passing bell!