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


From the Anglo-Saxon. The Grave

FOR thee was a house built

Ere thou wast born,

For thee was a mould meant

Ere thou of mother camest.

But it is not made ready,

Nor its depth measured,

Nor is it seen

How long it shall be.

Now I bring thee

Where thou shalt be;

Now I shall measure thee,

And the mould afterwards.

Thy house is not

Highly timbered,

It is unhigh and low;

When thou art therein,

The heel-ways are low,

The side-ways unhigh.

The roof is built

Thy breast full nigh,

So thou shalt in mould

Dwell full cold,

Dimly and dark.

Doorless is that house,

And dark it is within;

There thou art fast detained

And Death hath the key.

Loathsome is that earth-house,

And grim within to dwell.

There thou shalt dwell,

And worms shall divide thee.

Thus thou art laid,

And leavest thy friends;

Thou hast no friend,

Who will come to thee,

Who will ever see

How that house pleaseth thee;

Who will ever open

The door for thee,

And descend after thee;

For soon thou art loathsome

And hateful to see.