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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: White Pine, Nev.

The Miner’s Burial

By John Brayshaw Kaye (1841–1909)

FAR up the mountain’s craggy side,

Upon a rudely fashioned bier,

They bore him out from where he died

(His cabin near the rocky slide),

With scarce a word, without a tear.

They hollowed out a fitting grave,

Close by the summit’s granite rim,

Then gathered round and sung a hymn,

And placed him in the narrow cave.

“To ashes, ashes; dust to dust”;

Thus was performed the sacred trust

That man assumes upon his birth,

To give the dead again to earth.

Up to his tomb will clamber still

The sounds he was so used to hear,—

The music of the gad and drill

Beneath the hammer, sharp and clear;

The deep-toned thunder of the blast,

A tidal wave of echo cast

Off from the mountain’s rocky crest,

Shall bear his spirit off to rest.

There in his lofty sepulchre,

A league above the distant plain,

His ashes sleep the final sleep;

And passing clouds which floating skirr

Across the vast aerial deep,

In shapes of rugged majesty,

Oft kiss his tomb in passing by.

Or, when a calm is in the air,

Like snowy galleons at rest,

They peaceful lie at anchor there,

To shut the lower world from view,

And point aloft to heaven’s deep blue,

The promised haven of the blest.