Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
London
Campbell’s Funeral
Horace Smith (1779–1849)
 
’T IS 1 well to see these accidental great,
  Noble by birth, or Fortune’s favor blind,
Gracing themselves in adding grace and state
  To the more noble eminence of mind,
      And doing homage to a bard        5
      Whose breast by Nature’s gems was starred,
Whose patent by the hand of God himself was signed.
 
While monarchs sleep, forgotten, unrevered,
  Time trims the lamp of intellectual fame;
The builders of the pyramids, who reared        10
  Mountains of stone, left none to tell their name.
      Though Homer’s tomb was never known,
      A mausoleum of his own
Long as the world endures his greatness shall proclaim.
 
What lauding sepulchre does Campbell want?        15
  ’T is his to give, and not derive renown.
What monumental bronze or adamant,
  Like his own deathless lays can hand him down?
      Poets outlast their tombs: the bust
      And statue soon revert to dust;        20
The dust they represent still wears the laurel crown.
 
The solid Abbey walls that seem time-proof,
  Formed to await the final day of doom;
The clustered shafts and arch-supported roof,
  That now enshrine and guard our Campbell’s tomb,        25
      Become a ruined, shattered fane,
      May fall and bury him again:
Yet still the bard shall live, his fame-wreath still shall bloom.
 
Methought the monumental effigies
  Of elder poets that were grouped around,        30
Leaned from their pedestals with eager eyes,
  To peer into the excavated ground
      Where lay the gifted, good, and brave,
      While earth from Kosciusko’s grave
Fell on his coffin-plate with freedom-shrieking sound.        35
 
And over him the kindred dust was strewed
  Of Poets’ Corner. O misnomer strange!
The poet’s confine is the amplitude
  Of the whole earth’s illimitable range,
      O’er which his spirit wings its flight,        40
      Shedding an intellectual light,
A sun that never sets, a moon that knows no change.
 
Around his grave in radiant brotherhood,
  As if to form a halo o’er his head,
Not few of England’s master spirits stood,        45
  Bards, artists, sages, reverently led
      To wave each separating plea
      Of sect, clime, party, and degree,
All honoring him on whom Nature all honors shed.
 
To me the humblest of the mourning band,        50
  Who knew the bard through many a changeful year,
It was a proud sad privilege to stand
  Beside his grave and shed a parting tear.
      Seven lustres had he been my friend,
      Be that my plea when I suspend        55
This all-unworthy wreath on such a poet’s bier.
 
Note 1. He was buried in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey, his pall being supported by six noblemen. [back]
 
 
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