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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX. 1876–79.

Smolensk (Smolensko)

Cemetery of the Smolensko Church

By Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)

THEY gather, with the summer in their hands,

The summer from their distant valleys bringing;

They gather round the church in pious bands,

With funeral array, and solemn singing.

The dead are their companions; many days

Have passed since they were laid to their last slumber;

And in the hurry of life’s crowded ways

Small space has been for memory to cumber.

But now the past comes back again, and death

Asketh its mournful tribute of the living;

And memories that were garnered at the heart,

The treasures kept from busier hours are giving.

The mother kneeleth at a little tomb

And sees one sweet face shining from beneath it;

She has brought all the early flowers that bloom

In the small garden round their home to wreathe it.

Friend thinks on friend; and youth comes back again

To that one moment of awakened feeling;

And prayers, such prayers as never rise in vain,

Call down the Heaven to which they are appealing.

It is a superstitious rite and old,

Yet having with all higher things connection;

Prayers, tears, redeem a world so harsh and cold,

The future has its hope, the past its deep affection.