Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Written after Visiting a Tomb near Woodstock

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


Written after Visiting a Tomb near Woodstock

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

  • “Yes! hide beneath the mouldering heap,
  • The undelighted, slighted thing;
  • There in the cold earth, buried deep,
  • In silence let it wait the spring.”
  • Mrs. Tighe’s Poem on the Lily.

  • I STOOD where the lip of song lay low,

    Where the dust had gathered on Beauty’s brow

    Where stillness hung on the heart of Love,

    And a marble weeper kept watch above.

    I stood in the silence of lonely thought,

    Of deep affections that inly wrought,

    Troubled, and dreamy, and dim with fear,—

    They knew themselves exiled spirits here!

    Then didst thou pass me in radiance by,

    Child of the sunbeam, bright butterfly!

    Thou that dost bear, on thy fairy wings,

    No burden of mortal sufferings.

    Thou wert flitting past that solemn tomb,

    Over a bright world of joy and bloom;

    And strangely I felt, as I saw thee shine,

    The all that severed thy life and mine.

    Mine, with its inborn mysterious things,

    Of love and grief its unfathomed springs;

    And quick thoughts wandering o’er earth and sky,

    With voices to question eternity!

    Thine, in its reckless and joyous way,

    Like an embodied breeze at play!

    Child of the sunlight! thou winged and free!

    One moment, one moment, I envied thee!

    Thou art not lonely, though born to roam,

    Thou hast no longings that pine for home;

    Thou seek’st not the haunts of the bee and bird,

    To fly from the sickness of hope deferred.

    In thy brief being no strife of mind,

    No boundless passion, is deeply shrined;

    While I, as I gazed on thy swift flight by,

    One hour of my soul seemed infinity!

    And she, that voiceless below me slept,

    Flowed not her song from a heart that wept?

    O Love and Song! though of heaven your powers,

    Dark is your fate in this world of ours.

    Yet, ere I turned from that silent place,

    Or ceased from watching thy sunny race,

    Thou, even thou, on those glancing wings,

    Didst waft me visions of brighter things!

    Thou that dost image the freed soul’s birth,

    And its flight away o’er the mists of earth,

    O, fitly thy path is through flowers that rise

    Round the dark chamber where Genius lies!