Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Greenwood Cemetery

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

Middle States: Brooklyn, N. Y.

Greenwood Cemetery

By Park Benjamin (1809–1864)

HOW soft and pure the sunlight falls

On this lone city of the dead,—

How gilds the cold and marble walls,

Where autumn’s crimson leaves are shed:

The gentle uplands and the glades

No sad, funereal aspect wear;

But, as the summer’s greenness fades,

In their new garments seen more fair.

Look, Mary,—what a splendid scene

Around us in the distance lies!

Bright breaks the silver sea between

This island and the western skies.

How still with all her towers and domes

The city sleeps on yonder shore,—

How many thousand happy homes

Yon starless sky is bending o’er!

Happy—although this sacred spot

The happiest may receive at last—

How may their memories be forgot,

Save when some casual glance is cast

By tearless eyes upon their graves,

And passing strangers bend to learn

O’er whom some tree its foliage waves,

Whose name adorns some sculptured urn.

Oh! mournful fate! to die unknown

And leave no constant heart to pine;—

And yet, ere many years have flown,

Such fate, dear Mary, may be mine.

Alone I live, and I shall die

With no sweet hand like thine to close—

When from my sight earth’s miseries fly—

My eyelids in their long repose.