BETA

A Common Grave in South Africa .

No ponderous tomb, no fretted vaults are there.1
Rude crosses mark the spot, and witness bear2
To where the unnamed dead in slumber lie,3
Beneath the chargèd cloud or golden sky.4
No stately yew shall rear a canopy ;5
But mossy rock and boulders rude shall be6
Their angel-guarded, nature-hallowed shrine,7
And heaven’s sweet dew their sacramental wine.8
Above, a temple never built with hands9
The starlight, and the sapphire heaven—with spans10
E’en loftier far than abbey-shadowed aisle11
Or columned splendour of cathedral pile.12
The veldt-serub is their only chancel rail,13
The sun-baked sod their kneeling-cushion pale.14
No full-voiced choir is there in cloister dim,15
No priestly note, no stirring swell of hymn.16
The ponderous crash of organ’s labouring roll17
Has brought no solace to their passing soul ;18
Yet Nature’s clarion call and antiphon19
Peals ever round their grave inunison.20
The climbing vines their fragrant censers swing,21
Over all the hallowed air the wild-flowers fling22
Their breathing incense to the heavenly dome,23
Pointing the way to man’s eternal home.24
From comrade’s side, from battle’s bloody fame,25
God in His mercy called them home again.26
He called His own who fell in glorious strife,27
And wrote their names within His book of life.28
Symmetrical tailpiece with decorative curls and small flowers at each diagonal corner. 1/5 of page width and approximately three lines in height.