Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
The Quaker Graveyard
Silas Weir Mitchell (1829–1914)
FOUR straight brick walls, severely plain,
  A quiet city square surround;
A level space of nameless graves,—
  The Quakers’ burial-ground.
In gown of gray, or coat of drab,        5
  They trod the common ways of life,
With passions held in sternest leash,
  And hearts that knew not strife.
To yon grim meeting-house they fared,
  With thoughts as sober as their speech,        10
To voiceless prayer, to songless praise,
  To hear the elders preach.
Through quiet lengths of days they came,
  With scarce a change to this repose;
Of all life’s loveliness they took        15
  The thorn without the rose.
But in the porch and o’er the graves,
  Glad rings the southward robin’s glee,
And sparrows fill the autumn air
  With merry mutiny;        20
While on the graves of drab and gray
  The red and gold of autumn lie,
And wilful Nature decks the sod
  In gentlest mockery.

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