Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Dirge for Dorcas
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
 
COME pitie us, all ye who see
Our harps hung on the willow-tree;
Come pitie us, ye passers-by,
Who see or hear poor widows crie;
Come pitie us, and bring your eares        5
And eyes to pitie widows’ teares.
    And when you are come hither,
        Then we will keep
        A fast, and weep
    Our eyes out all together,        10
 
For Tabitha, who dead lies here,
Clean washt, and laid out for the bier.
O modest matrons, weep and waile!
For now the corne and wine must faile;
The basket and the bynn of bread,        15
Wherewith so many soules were fed,
    Stand empty here forever;
        And ah! the poore,
        At thy worne doore,
    Shall be relievèd never.        20
 
But ah, alas! the almond-bough
And olive-branch is withered now;
The wine-presse now is ta’en from us,
The saffron and the calamus;
The spice and spiknard hence is gone,        25
The storax and the cynamon;
    The caroll of our gladnesse
        Has taken wing,
        And our late spring
    Of mirth is turned to sadnesse.        30
 
How wise wast thou in all thy waies!
How worthy of respect and praise!
How matron-like didst thou go drest!
How soberly above the rest
Of those that prank it with their plumes,        35
And jet it with their choice perfumes!
    Thy vestures were not flowing;
        Nor did the street
        Accuse thy feet
    Of mincing in their going.        40
 
Sleep with thy beauties here, while we
Will show these garments made by thee;
These were the coats, in these are read
The monuments of Dorcas dead:
These were thy acts, and thou shalt have        45
These hung, as honors o’er thy grave,
    And after us, distressed,
        Should fame be dumb,
        Thy very tomb
    Would cry out, Thou art blessed.        50
 
 
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