I see around me tombstones grey
Stretching their shadows far away.
Beneath the turf my footsteps tread
Lie low and lone the silent dead—
Beneath the turf– beneath the mould –
Forever dark, forever cold—
And my eyes cannot hold the tears
That memory hoards from vanished years
For Time and Death and Mortal pain
Give wounds that will not heal again —
Let me remember half the woe
I’ve seen and heard and felt below,
And Heaven itself– so pure and blest,
Could never give my spirit rest—
Sweet land of light! thy children fair
Know nought akin to our despair—
Nor have they felt, nor can they tell
What tenants haunt each mortal cell,
What gloomy guests we hold within—
Torments and madness, tears and sin!
Well– may they live in ectasy
Their long eternity of joy;
At least we would not bring them down
With us to weep, with us to groan,
No– Earth would wish no other sphere
To taste her cup of sufferings drear;
She turns from Heaven with a careless eye
And only mourns that we must die!
Ah mother, what shall comfort thee
In all this boundless misery?
To cheer our eager eyes a while
We see thee smile; how fondly smile!
But who reads not through that tender glow
Thy deep, unutterable woe:
Indeed no dazzling land above
Can cheat thee of thy children’s love.
We all, in life’s departing shine,
Our last dear longings blend with thine;
And struggle still and strive to trace
With clouded gaze, thy darling face.
We would not leave our native home
For any world beyond the Tomb.
No– rather on thy kindly breast
Let us be laid in lasting rest;
Or waken but to share with thee
A mutual immortality—