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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

Upon Seeing a Funeral in the Street

By Langdon Elwyn Mitchell (1862–1935)

[Born in Philadelphia, Penn., 1862. Died there, 1935. Sylvian, and Other Poems. By John Philip Varley. 1885.]

WHEN I do die, enhearse

My body not at all;

Nor robe me not in black,

Nor cut me out a pall.

I would not from this earth

So perishably go;

But, since I die a man,

Let me be buried so:

Not like a beast that is

Shut in a box; nor yet

As one that hath lost all,

And points it out with jet.

For naught of me ye have

But soon unformèd earth;

Think ye, ye cast in ground

My melody, my mirth?

My joy, my love, my wit?

The virtues that I won?

Ye have the frame of it,

The house—the host is gone.

Place this that did me hold

Upon a piny pyre.

And swing the censer sweet,

And set the oil on fire!

Let myrrh be wrapt around,

Let me be swathed in sweet,

In aloes and in cassia bound,

And decked as is most meet

With fateful yokes of flowers

As in the further east;

Let me be clothed like one that goes

In glory to a feast!

And when the flames are bright,

And when the fire is hot,

Be all my virtues white,

Be all my bad forgot.

And as to naught I come,

And all in ashes lie,

Recite a song or two

For better memory!

And though your hearts do moan,

Yet let your loves rehearse

How that I writ, and writ alone

The lovèd lyric verse!

So shall I buried be,

As though I came to birth;

And not as one whose hope did lie

Bound up in slothful earth.