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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By Francis Saltus Saltus (1849–1889)

A TREE is blooming in some distant grove,

A mammoth oak whose branches pierce the sky,

Peopled with birds, where agile squirrels rove,

Where owlets hoot, and where the eagles die.

A maid is seated in a dreary room,

Her drearier thoughts are far, ah! far away,

While with a heart immersed in utter gloom

She weaves a cerement till the close of day.

Fair flowers are sleeping in the frozen ground

Until spring beckons them in ways unseen,

To aid the glory of new Nature crowned,

And, star-like, light the meadow’s dewy green.

A block of marble in a quarry lies,

Inert, unfeeling, in its silent sleep,

While o’er it, roaring through the sombre skies,

The wintry winds their doleful vigils keep.


From that same tree my coffin will be wrought,

Kind hands will place that flower upon my head;

The maiden’s work will be the shroud I sought,

The marble block will hold me with the dead.