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



By Edward Young (1681–1765)

  • (From The Complaint)
  • Had you been with me in a solitary walk the other day, you would have shed a tear over the remains of his dear Narcissa. I was walking in a place called the King’s Garden; and there I saw the spot where she was interred. Mr. J——, Mrs. H——, and myself, had some conversation with the gardener respecting it, who told us that about forty-five years ago Dr. Young was here with his daughter for her health; that he used constantly to be walking backward and forward in this garden; and that he bribed the under gardener, belonging to his father, to let him bury his daughter, which he did; pointed out the most solitary place, and dug the grave. The man, through a private door, admitted the Doctor at midnight, bringing his beloved daughter, wrapped up in a sheet, upon his shoulder; he laid her in the hole, sat down, and (as the man expressed it) “rained tears!”—W. Taylor’s Letter to Mrs. Mouncher.

  • SNATCHED ere thy prime! and in thy bridal hour!

    And when kind fortune, with thy lover, smiled!

    And when high-flavored thy fresh-opening joys!

    And when blind man pronounced thy bliss complete!

    And on a foreign shore where strangers wept!

    Strangers to thee, and, more surprising still,

    Strangers to kindness, wept. Their eyes let fall

    Inhuman tears; strange tears! that trickled down

    From marble hearts! obdurate tenderness!

    A tenderness that called them more severe,

    In spite of Nature’s soft persuasion steeled:

    While Nature melted, Superstition raved;

    That mourned the dead, and this denied a grave.

    Their sighs incensed; sighs foreign to the will!

    Their will the tiger-sucked outraged the storm:

    For, O, the cursed ungodliness of Zeal!

    While sinful flesh relented, spirit nursed

    In blind Infallibility’s embrace,

    The sainted spirit petrified the breast;

    Denied the charity of dust to spread

    O’er dust! a charity their dogs enjoy.

    What could I do? what succor? what resource?

    With pious sacrilege a grave I stole;

    With impious piety that grave I wronged;

    Short in my duty, coward in my grief!

    More like her murderer than friend, I crept

    With soft-suspended step, and, muffled deep

    In midnight darkness, whispered my last sigh,

    I whispered what should echo through their realms,

    Nor writ her name, whose tomb should pierce the skies!

    Presumptuous fear! how durst I dread her foes,

    While Nature’s loudest dictates I obeyed?

    Pardon necessity, blest shade! of grief

    And indignation rival bursts I poured;

    Half-execration mingled with my prayer;

    Kindled at man, while I his God adored;

    Sore grudged the savage land her sacred dust;

    Stamped the curst soil; and with humanity

    (Denied Narcissa) wished them all a grave.