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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.


The Grave of a Poetess

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

  • Extrinsic interest has lately attached to the fine scenery of Woodstock, near Kilkenny, on account of its having been the last residence of the author of “Psyche” [Mrs. Tighe]. Her grave is one of many in the churchyard of the village. The river runs smoothly by. The ruins of an ancient abbey, that have been partially converted into a church, reverently throw their mantle of tender shadow over it.—Tales by the O’Hara Family.

  • I STOOD beside thy lowly grave;

    Spring odors breathed around,

    And music, in the river wave,

    Passed with a lulling sound.

    All happy things that love the sun

    In the bright air glanced by,

    And a glad murmur seemed to run

    Through the soft azure sky.

    Fresh leaves were on the ivy bough

    That fringed the ruins near;

    Young voices were abroad, but thou

    Their sweetness couldst not hear.

    And mournful grew my heart for thee!

    Thou in whose woman’s mind

    The ray that brightens earth and sea,

    The light of song, was shrined.

    Mournful, that thou wert slumbering low,

    With a dread curtain drawn

    Between thee and the golden glow

    Of this world’s vernal dawn.

    Parted from all the song and bloom

    Thou wouldst have loved so well,

    To thee the sunshine round thy tomb

    Was but a broken spell.

    The bird, the insect on the wing,

    In their bright reckless play,

    Might feel the flush and life of spring,—

    And thou wert passed away.

    But then, e’en then, a nobler thought

    O’er my vain sadness came;

    The immortal spirit woke, and wrought

    Within my thrilling frame.

    Surely on lovelier things, I said,

    Thou must have looked ere now,

    Than all that round our pathway shed

    Odors and hues below.

    The shadows of the tomb are here,

    Yet beautiful is earth!

    What seest thou, then, where no dim fear,

    No haunting dream, hath birth?

    Here a vain love to passing flowers

    Thou gavest; but where thou art

    The sway is not with changeful hours,—

    There love and death must part.

    Thou hast left sorrow in thy song,

    A voice not loud but deep!

    The glorious bowers of earth among,

    How often didst thou weep?

    Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground

    Thy tender thoughts and high?

    Now peace the woman’s heart hath found,

    And joy the poet’s eye.