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 James Herbert Morse (1841–1923)

[Born in Hubbardston, Mass., 1841.]

THE MOON last night was shining

Brightly on land and sea,

And I from the pine grove could see her,

As I leaned against a tree.

I doffed my hat, though ’twas midnight,

As she slowly rode through the sky,

And I said to her softly and sadly:

“Pale moon, far off and high,

“Thou seest a thousand churchyards,—

All still they lie, and white;

And thou pourest thy holy splendor

O’er all of them, night by night.

“There is one on a hillside lying,—

’Tis little and lonely and bare;

But O shine down more softly,

Sweet moon, when thou comest there!”


I came to an inland river,—

For on, from state to state,

With a burden not easy to carry,

I have wandered much of late,—

’Twas midnight. Amid the alders

I sat down, the river nigh,

And my shadow sat there beside me,

For the moon was full and high.

The river seemed sighing and sobbing:

“O River, why sighest thou so?”—

“There are so many tombstones

On my banks, wherever I go!”

“Then thy sighing and thy sobbing,

O River, I cannot blame.”

And I dropped my head on my bosom,

My shadow did the same.