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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Louisville, Ky.

Cave Hill Cemetery

By George Dennison Prentice (1802–1870)


HERE, whilst the twilight dews

Are softly gathering on the leaves and flowers,

I come, O patriot dead, to muse

A few brief hours.

Hard by you, rank on rank,

Rise the sad evergreens, whose solemn forms

Are dark as if they only drank

The thunder-storms.

Through the thick leaves around

The low, wild winds their dirge-like music pour,

Like the far ocean’s solemn sound,

On its lone shore.

From all the air a sigh,

Dirge-like and soul-like, melancholy, wild,

Comes like a mother’s wailing cry

O’er her dead child.

Yonder, a little way,

Where mounds rise think like surges on the sea,

Those whom ye met in fierce array

Sleep dreamlessly.

The same soft breezes sing,

The same birds chant their spirit-requiem,

The same sad flowers their fragrance fling

O’er you and them.

And pilgrims oft will grieve

Alike o’er Northern and o’er Southern dust,

And both to God’s great mercy leave

In equal trust.

Oh, ye and they, as foes,

Will meet no more, but calmly take your rest,

The meek hands folded in repose

On each still breast.

No marble columns rear

Their shafts to blazon each dead hero’s name,

Yet well, oh, well, ye slumber here,

Great sons of fame!

The dead as free will start

From the unburdened as the burdened sod,

And stand as pure in soul and heart

Before their God.