A Church-Yard Scene.

How sweet and solemn, all alone,1
With reverend steps, from stone to stone2
In a small village church-yard lying,3
O’er intervening flowers to move !4
And as we read the names unknown5
Of young and old to judgment gone,6
And hear in the calm air above7
Time onwards softly flying,8
To meditate, in Christian love,9
Upon the dead and dying !10
Across the silence seem to go11
With dream-like motion, wavery, slow,12
And shrouded in their folds of snow,13
The friends we loved long long ago !14
Gliding across the sad retreat,15
How beautiful their phantom feet !16
What tenderness is in their eyes,17
Turned where the poor survivor lies18
’Mid monitory sanctities !19
What years of vanished joy are fanned20
From one uplifting of that hand21
In its white stillness ! when the shade22
Doth glimmeringly in sunshine fade23
From our embrace, how dim appears24
This world’s life through a mist of tears !25
Vain hopes ! blind sorrows ! needless fears !26
Such is the scene around me now :27
A little Church-yard on the brow28
Of a green pastoral hill ;29
It’s sylvan village sleeps below,30
And faintly here is heard the flow31
Of Woodburn’s summer rill ;32
A place where all things mournful meet,33
And yet the sweetest of the sweet,34
The stillest of the still !35
With what a pensive beauty fall36
Across the mossy mouldering wall37
That rose-tree’s clustered arches ! See38
The robin-redbreast warily,39
Bright through the blossoms, leaves his nest :40
Sweet ingrate ! through the winter blest41
At the firesides of men—but shy42
Through all the sunny summer-hours,43
He hides himself among the flowers44
In his own wild festivity.45
What lulling sound, and shadow cool46
Hangs half the darkened church-yard o’er,47
From thy green depths so beautiful48
Thou gorgeous sycamore !49
Oft hath the holy wine and bread50
Been blest beneath thy murmuring tent,51
Where many a bright and hoary head52
Bowed at that awful sacrament.53
Now all beneath the turf are laid54
On which they sat, and sang, and prayed.55
Above that consecrated tree56
Ascends the tapering spire that seems57
To lift the soul up silently58
To heaven with all its dreams,59
While in the belfry, deep and low,60
From his heaved bosom’s purple gleams61
The dove’s continuous murmurs flow,62
A dirge-like song, half-bliss, half-woe,63
The voice so lonely seems !64