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

Ballads and Other Poems


  • “I would like to be burned, not buried,” Mr. Longfellow notes, and in a letter to Mr. Ward, who had the poem in his hands for publication, he writes: “I here add a concluding stanza for God’s-Acre, which I think improves the piece and rounds it off more perfectly than before,—the thought no longer resting on the cold furrow, but on the waving harvest beyond:—
  • Green gate of Paradise! let in the sun!
  • Unclose thy portals, that we may behold
  • Those fields elysian, where bright rivers run,
  • And waving harvests bend like seas of gold.
  • The poem was published with this additional stanza in The Democratic Review for December, 1841, but when it came to be added to the volume the stanza was dropped.

    I LIKE that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls

    The burial-ground God’s-Acre! It is just;

    It consecrates each grave within its walls,

    And breathes a benison o’er the sleeping dust.

    God’s-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts

    Comfort to those who in the grave have sown

    The seed that they had garnered in their hearts,

    Their bread of life, alas! no more their own.

    Into its furrows shall we all be cast,

    In the sure faith, that we shall rise again

    At the great harvest, when the archangel’s blast

    Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.

    Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom,

    In the fair gardens of that second birth;

    And each bright blossom mingle its perfume

    With that of flowers, which never bloomed on earth.

    With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the sod,

    And spread the furrow for the seed we sow;

    This is the field and Acre of our God,

    This is the place where human harvests grow.