Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1191. In the Old Churchyard at Fredericksburg
 
By Frederick Wadsworth Loring
 
 
IN the old churchyard at Fredericksburg
  A gravestone stands to-day,
Marking the place where a grave has been,
Though many and many a year has it seen
  Since its tenant mouldered away.        5
    And that quaintly carved old stone
      Tells its simple tale to all:—
      “Here lies a bearer of the pall
    At the funeral of Shakespeare.”
 
There in the churchyard at Fredericksburg        10
  I wandered all alone,
Thinking sadly on empty fame,
How the great dead are but a name,—
  To few are they really known.
    Then upon this battered stone        15
      My listless eye did fall,
      Where lay the bearer of the pall
    At the funeral of Shakespeare.
 
Then in the churchyard at Fredericksburg
  It seemed as though the air        20
Were peopled with phantoms that swept by,
Flitting along before my eye,
  So sad, so sweet, so fair;
    Hovering about this stone,
      By some strange spirit’s call,        25
      Where lay a bearer of the pall
    At the funeral of Shakespeare.
 
For in the churchyard at Fredericksburg
  Juliet seemed to love,
Hamlet mused, and the old Lear fell,        30
Beatrice laughed, and Ariel
  Gleamed through the skies above,
    As here, beneath this stone,
      Lay in his narrow hall
      He who before had borne the pall        35
    At the funeral of Shakespeare.
 
And I left the old churchyard at Fredericksburg;
  Still did the tall grass wave,
With a strange and beautiful grace,
Over the sad and lonely place,        40
  Where hidden lay the grave;
  And still did the quaint old stone
    Tell its wonderful tale to all:—
    “Here lies a bearer of the pall
  At the funeral of Shakespeare.”        45
 

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