Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
O! May We Not Weep
By Samuel H. Jenks (1789–?)
 
“Weep not for those whom the veil of the tomb.”—MOORE.

O! MAY 1 we not weep for the loved who have fled
  From our presence on earth, though their home be in heaven;
And may not our tears at the grave of the dead,
  When flowing in silence and hope, be forgiven?
Shall death seize unheeded the friends of our bosom,        5
  The fairest and mildest in life’s lovely bloom;
And throw them, unmourn’d, like the funeral blossom,
  To fade and corrode in the damps of the tomb?
O! may we not sorrow for those who have fled
  From our presence on earth, though their home be in heaven;        10
And may not our tears at the grave of the dead,
  When flowing in silence and hope, be forgiven?
 
Unmoved shall we wake from the dreams we enjoy’d,
  And find all our visions by death rudely torn?
Our peace by the sweeping blast rent and destroy’d—        15
  Like brutes shall we brook, or like man shall we mourn?
For, though quietly seal’d in the sepulchre’s slumber,
  The forms of our valued companions repose;
E’en though with the spirits of bliss THEY may number,
  Yet may we not weep for OUR wasteness and woes?        20
  The forms of our valued companions repose;
Then say not, ye piously stern, that our grief
  Should be quench’d in oblivion, or frigidly borne:—
When the mildews of fate blight the young tender leaf,
  ’T is NATURE’S COMMAND, and MAN’S DUTY, to mourn.        25
 
Note 1. Jenks was born in Boston in 1789. He was engaged in the mercantile profession for some years, but in 1821 he became editor and proprietor of the Nantucket Inquirer. During part of the year 1824, he conducted a paper in New York, called The National Union, and supporting the claims of Mr Crawford for the Presidency. He relinquished the Nantucket Inquirer in 1827, and has since been the editor of the Boston Evening Bulletin. He is known as a correct and intelligent writer. His lighter prose compositions have obtained him a well deserved reputation as a humorist. [back]
 
 
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