Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
A Woodland Grave
Lord De Tabley (John Byrne Leicester Warren) (b. 1835)
BRING no jarring lute this way
  To demean her sepulchre,
Toys of love and idle day
  Vanish as we think of her.
    We, who read her epitaph,        5
    Find the world not worth a laugh.
Light, our light, what dusty night
  Numbs the golden drowsy head?
Lo! empath’d in pearls of light,
  Morn resurgent from the dead;        10
    From whose amber shoulders flow
    Shroud and sheet of cloudy woe.
Woods are dreaming, and she dreams:
  Through the foliaged roof above
Down immeasurably streams        15
  Splendor like an angel’s love,
    Till the tomb and gleaming urn
    In a mist of glory burn.
Cedars there in outspread palls
  Lean their rigid canopies;        20
Yet a lark note through them falls,
  As he scales his orient skies.
    That aërial song of his,
    Sweet, might come from thee in bliss.
There the roses pine and weep        25
  Strong, delicious human tears;
There the posies o’er her sleep
  Through the years—ah! through the years:
    Spring on spring renew the show
    Of their frail memorial woe.        30
Wreaths of intertwisted yew
  Lay for cypress where she lies,
Mingle perfume from the blue
  Of the forest violet’eyes.
    Let the squirrel sleek its fur,        35
    And the primrose peep at her.
We have seen three winters sow
  Hoarfrost on thy winding-sheet:
Snows return again, and thou
  Hearest not the crisping sleet.        40
    Winds arise and winds depart,
    Yet no tempest rocks thy heart.
We have seen with fiery tongue
  Thrice the infant crocus born:
Thrice its trembling curtain hung        45
  In a chink of frozen morn.
    This can rear its silken crest:
    Nothing thaws her ice-bound breast.
We have eaten, we have earn’d
  Wine of grief and bread of care,        50
We, who saw her first inurn’d
  In the dust and silence there.
    We have wept—ah God! not so:
    Trivial tears dried long ago.
But we yearn and make our moan        55
  For the step we us’d to know:
Gentle hand and tender tone,
  Laughter in a silver flow:
    All that sweetness in thy chain,
    Tyrant Grave, restore again.        60
Bring again the maid who died:
  We have wither’d since she went.
O unseal the shadowy side
  Of her marble monument;
    Earth, disclose her as she lies        65
    Doz’d with woodland lullabies.


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