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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

Birds of Passage

Flight the First. In the Churchyard at Cambridge

IN the village churchyard she lies,

Dust is in her beautiful eyes,

No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;

At her feet and at her head

Lies a slave to attend the dead,

But their dust is white as hers.

Was she, a lady of high degree,

So much in love with the vanity

And foolish pomp of this world of ours?

Or was it Christian charity,

And lowliness and humility,

The richest and rarest of all dowers?

Who shall tell us? No one speaks;

No color shoots into those cheeks,

Either of anger or of pride,

At the rude question we have asked;

Nor will the mystery be unmasked

By those who are sleeping at her side.

Hereafter?—And do you think to look

On the terrible pages of that Book

To find her failings, faults, and errors?

Ah, you will then have other cares,

In your own shortcomings and despairs,

In your own secret sins and terrors!