Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
 
Smolensk (Smolensko)
Cemetery of the Smolensko Church
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)
 
THEY gather, with the summer in their hands,
The summer from their distant valleys bringing;
They gather round the church in pious bands,
With funeral array, and solemn singing.
 
The dead are their companions; many days        5
Have passed since they were laid to their last slumber;
And in the hurry of life’s crowded ways
Small space has been for memory to cumber.
 
But now the past comes back again, and death
Asketh its mournful tribute of the living;        10
And memories that were garnered at the heart,
The treasures kept from busier hours are giving.
 
The mother kneeleth at a little tomb
And sees one sweet face shining from beneath it;
She has brought all the early flowers that bloom        15
In the small garden round their home to wreathe it.
 
Friend thinks on friend; and youth comes back again
To that one moment of awakened feeling;
And prayers, such prayers as never rise in vain,
Call down the Heaven to which they are appealing.        20
 
It is a superstitious rite and old,
Yet having with all higher things connection;
Prayers, tears, redeem a world so harsh and cold,
The future has its hope, the past its deep affection.
 
 
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