Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
A Grave in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond
By Margaret Junkin Preston (1820–1897)
 
(J. R. T.)

I READ the marble-lettered name,
  And half in bitterness I said:
“As Dante from Ravenna came,
  Our poet came from exile—dead.”
And yet, had it been asked of him        5
  Where he would rather lay his head,
This spot he would have chosen. Dim
    The city’s hum drifts o’er his grave,
    And green above the hollies wave
Their jagged leaves, as when a boy,        10
  On blissful summer afternoons,
  He came to sing the birds his runes,
And tell the river of his joy.
 
Who dreams that in his wanderings wide,
    By stern misfortunes tossed and driven,        15
    His soul’s electric strands were riven
From home and country? Let betide
What might, what would, his boast, his pride,
Was in his stricken mother-land,
  That could but bless and bid him go,        20
Because no crust was in her hand
  To stay her children’s need. We know
The mystic cable sank too deep
  For surface storm or stress to strain,
Or from his answering heart to keep        25
  The spark from flashing back again!
 
Think of the thousand mellow rhymes,
  The pure idyllic passion-flowers,
Wherewith, in far gone, happier times,
  He garlanded this South of ours.        30
Provençal-like, he wandered long,
    And sang at many a stranger’s board,
    Yet ’twas Virginia’s name that poured
The tenderest pathos through his song.
We owe the Poet praise and tears,        35
  Whose ringing ballad sends the brave,
Bold Stuart riding down the years—
  What have we given him? Just a grave!
 
 
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