on visiting the Grave of a Brother,
at Charleston South Carolina
From life's dull round of unrequiting toil,
I turn to seek the church-yard's solemn yew;
Beneath its spreading gloom to rest awhile,
And all my vows of filial grief renew.
As down this grass-grown path I take my way,
Now fills my willing eye the ready tear!
Now swells my burthen'd heart that seems to say,
In throbbings loud - "My brother, art thou here?"
"And was it thus that we should meet again,
"Far from the native vale we lov'd so well;
"Whose waving flowers enrich'd the purple plain,
"Where innocence and peace were wont to dwell?
"Was this the promise of an early dawn,
"When hope and pleasure, like ourselves were young?
"When hand in hand we rang'd the dewy lawn,
"Or gaily tripp'd it to the woods along?"
Yes! - 'tis the best exchange that earth can give -
A faithless promise - for an empty dream! -
To pass our joys - our sorrows only live,
To swell our sails on time's tumultous stream.
They say, that oft the spirits of the dead
Do guard the spot - wherein the clay is laid: -
Oh! could I think, that round this mouldering bed
Now flits and smiles my brother's viewless shade!
If so - behold the duteous tears of grief,
That ne'er thro' life can wet thy turf again! -
A tribute sad, taht brings a heart relief,
Long us'd to mourn its vanished joys in vain.
But hark! - was that his voice? - methought, alas!
It seemed to whisper me some parting will.-
No - 'twas the night-breeze sighing o'er the grass
'Twas not his voice - my flutt'ring heart, be still.
Ye sylph-like forms of dear enjoyments gone!
Oh could not thus, in taunting smiles to shine:
Still let me wander, cheerless and alone,
Since ye can never, never more be mine.
Oh let me drive thee, World! from every thought -
I would no longer prize the varied scene,
Whose low'ring clouds, with frowning envy fraught
Vail the bright beams that strive to shine between.
Yet let one ray, seraphic gild the tomb,
On whose dread calm thy cares can ne'er intrude:
One gentle smile of heav'n born faith illume
The unconscious grave's corrupting solitude.
Friends of my youth! - how have I seen ye fall
Before the unsparing sweep of destiny;
And wak'd my plaintive lyre by turns for all! -
Ah! who shall teach its notes to flow for me!
It matters not - if at my lowly bier
Sweet Sensibility shall xx reclin'd;
And lend a sigh for him, whose deaden'd ear
Is clos'd forever to her accents kind.
Poor youth! whose turf, by pitying strangers rear'd.
Blooms ever verdant wreath the southern sky -
While fate, mysterious, my weak thread has spear'd,
'Twas thine to wander hither - and to die!
For thee, shall death no parting pang repeat -
Thy cup is out - its bitterness is past!
But ah! 'tis mine in some dark hour to meet
That certain draught the lips but once can taste.
Ere long, my sleep shall be like thine profound,
And till the rose forgets to bud endure -
My heart no longer mourn thy cureless wound;
My weary footsteps press these thorns no more.
Then peace be with thee in thy lonely cell-
My feet can ne'er again this path pursue,
And thus I take my last and sad farewell -
Farewell my brother's shade - my brother's grave -
View in Jane's Manuscript Book