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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.


Heine’s Grave

By Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)

(See full text.)

“HENRI HEINE”—’t is here!

The black tombstone, the name

Carved there,—no more! and the smooth,

Swarded alleys, the limes

Touched with yellow by hot

Summer, but under them still

In September’s bright afternoon

Shadow and verdure and cool!

Trim Montmartre! the faint

Murmur of Paris outside;

Crisp everlasting-flowers,

Yellow and black, on the graves.

Half blind, palsied, in pain,

Hither to come, from the streets’

Uproar, surely not loath

Wast thou, Heine!—to lie

Quiet! to ask for closed

Shutters, and darkened room,

And cool drinks, and an eased

Posture, and opium, no more!

Hither to come, and to sleep

Under the wings of Renown.

Ah! not little, when pain

Is most quelling, and man

Easily quelled, and the fine

Temper of genius alive

Quickest to ill, is the praise

Not to have yielded to pain!

No small boast, for a weak

Son of mankind, to the earth

Pinned by the thunder, to rear

His bolt-scathed front to the stars;

And, undaunted, retort

’Gainst thick-crashing, insane,

Tyrannous tempests of bale,

Arrowy lightnings of soul!

Hark! through the alley resounds

Mocking laughter! A film

Creeps o’er the sunshine; a breeze

Ruffles the warm afternoon,

Saddens my soul with its chill.

Gibing of spirits in scorn

Shakes every leaf of the grove,

Mars the benignant repose

Of this amiable home of the dead.

Bitter spirits! ye claim

Heine?—Alas, he is yours!

Only a moment I longed

Here in the quiet to snatch

From such mates the outworn

Poet, and steep him in calm.

Only a moment! I knew

Whose he was who is here

Buried, I knew he was yours!

Ah, I knew that I saw

Here no sepulchre built

In the laurelled rock, o’er the blue

Naples bay, for a sweet

Tender Virgil! no tomb

On Ravenna sands, in the shade

Of Ravenna pines, for a high

Austere Dante! no grave

By the Avon side, in the bright

Stratford meadows, for thee,

Shakespeare! loveliest of souls,

Peerless in radiance, in joy.