Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  A Grave in India

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

India: Jeypoor

A Grave in India

By Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)

(From Shuhur, Jeypore)

A LONELY grave, far from all kindred ties;

Lonely like life, and that was passed afar

From friends and home. ’T is well that youth has hopes

That gladden, with the future, present hours;

Or else how sorrowful would seem the time

Which parts the young bird from its parent nest,

To wing its passage through the dreary world.

Alas! hope is not prophecy,—we dream,

But rarely does the glad fulfilment come:

We leave our land and we return no more,

Or come again, the weary and the worn.

But yonder grave, where the dark branches droop,

The only sign of mourning, early closed

O’er the young English stranger;—former love

And other days were warm about his heart,

When it grew cold forever.


And many are the tombs that scattered lie

Alone neglected, o’er the Indian plains,—

’T is the worst curse, on this our social world,

Fortune’s perpetual presence,—wealth, which now

Is like life’s paramount necessity.

For this, the household band is broken up,

The hearth made desolate, and sundered hearts

Left to forget or break. For this the earth

Is covered with a thousand English graves,

By whose side none remain to weep or pray;

Alas! we do mistake, and vainly buy

Our golden idols at too great a price.