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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

The Dead

By Jones Very (1813–1880)

[From Poems, with a Memoir by William P. Andrews. 1883.]

I SEE them,—crowd on crowd they walk the earth,

Dry leafless trees no autumn wind laid bare;

And in their nakedness find cause for mirth,

And all unclad would winter’s rudeness dare;

No sap doth through their clattering branches flow,

Whence springing leaves and blossoms bright appear;

Their hearts the living God have ceased to know

Who gives the springtime to th’ expectant year.

They mimic life, as if from Him to steal

His glow of health to paint the livid cheek;

They borrow words for thoughts they cannot feel,

That with a seeming heart their tongue may speak;

And in their show of life more dead they live

Than those that to the earth with many tears they give.