Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  On Visiting Melrose

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Melrose Abbey

On Visiting Melrose

By James Grahame (1765–1811)

After an Absence of Sixteen Years

YON setting sun, that slowly disappears,

Gleams a memento of departed years:

Ay, many a year is gone, and many a friend,

Since here I saw the autumn sun descend.

Ah! one is gone, whose hand was locked in mine,—

In this, that traces now the sorrowing line:

And now alone I scan the mouldering tombs,

Alone I wander through the vaulted glooms,

And list, as if the echoes might retain

One lingering cadence of her varied strain.

Alas! I heard that melting voice decay,

Heard seraph tones in whispers die away;

I marked the tear presageful fill her eye,

And quivering speak,—I am resigned to die.

Ye stars that through the fretted windows shed

A glimmering beam athwart the mighty dead,

Say to what sphere her sainted spirit flew,

That thither I may turn my longing view,

And wish, and hope, some tedious seasons o’er,

To join a long lost friend, to part no more.