Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Undercliff, Isle of Wight

St. Laurence

By Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829–1925)

ST. LAURENCE is a church beside the sea,

Kissed by the southern wind perpetually.

Those who may care to make and keep my grave,

There, if they love me, they shall bury me.

It is the tiniest church in all the land,

By some old Catholic devoutly planned;

Over its belfry and its little porch

The ivy trickles down on either hand.

It is the season when green leaves turn sear,—

To me the loveliest time in all the year;

And he who lingers by the churchyard-wall,

He will not wonder why it seems so dear.

What is this place like on an autumn day?—

One whom I love well, who is far away,

A soul with which each tint would softly blend,

From flame-tipped russet to the tenderest gray.

If ever I from that belovéd heart,

By evil fate—such is—were doomed to part,

I should not struggle with this bitter world;—

Take me, St. Laurence, hide me where thou art!