Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Ireland
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V.  1876–79.
The Grave of a Poetess
Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)
          Extrinsic interest has lately attached to the fine scenery of Woodstock, near Kilkenny, on account of its having been the last residence of the author of “Psyche” [Mrs. Tighe]. Her grave is one of many in the churchyard of the village. The river runs smoothly by. The ruins of an ancient abbey, that have been partially converted into a church, reverently throw their mantle of tender shadow over it.—Tales by the O’Hara Family.

I STOOD beside thy lowly grave;
  Spring odors breathed around,
And music, in the river wave,
  Passed with a lulling sound.
All happy things that love the sun        5
  In the bright air glanced by,
And a glad murmur seemed to run
  Through the soft azure sky.
Fresh leaves were on the ivy bough
  That fringed the ruins near;        10
Young voices were abroad, but thou
  Their sweetness couldst not hear.
And mournful grew my heart for thee!
  Thou in whose woman’s mind
The ray that brightens earth and sea,        15
  The light of song, was shrined.
Mournful, that thou wert slumbering low,
  With a dread curtain drawn
Between thee and the golden glow
  Of this world’s vernal dawn.        20
Parted from all the song and bloom
  Thou wouldst have loved so well,
To thee the sunshine round thy tomb
  Was but a broken spell.
The bird, the insect on the wing,        25
  In their bright reckless play,
Might feel the flush and life of spring,—
  And thou wert passed away.
But then, e’en then, a nobler thought
  O’er my vain sadness came;        30
The immortal spirit woke, and wrought
  Within my thrilling frame.
Surely on lovelier things, I said,
  Thou must have looked ere now,
Than all that round our pathway shed        35
  Odors and hues below.
The shadows of the tomb are here,
  Yet beautiful is earth!
What seest thou, then, where no dim fear,
  No haunting dream, hath birth?        40
Here a vain love to passing flowers
  Thou gavest; but where thou art
The sway is not with changeful hours,—
  There love and death must part.
Thou hast left sorrow in thy song,        45
  A voice not loud but deep!
The glorious bowers of earth among,
  How often didst thou weep?
Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground
  Thy tender thoughts and high?        50
Now peace the woman’s heart hath found,
  And joy the poet’s eye.

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