Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Middle States: West Point, N. Y.
The Graveyard at West Point
William Allen Butler (1825–1902)
 
ON this sweet Sabbath morning, let us wander
  From the loud music and the gay parade,
Where sleeps the graveyard, in its silence, yonder,
  Deep in the mountain shade.
 
There, side by side, the dark green cedars cluster,        5
  Like sentries watching by that camp of Death;
There, like an army’s tents, with snow-white lustre,
  The gravestones gleam beneath.
 
But, as we go, no posted guard or picket
  Stays our approach across the level grass,        10
Nor hostile challenge at the simple wicket
  Through which our footsteps pass.
 
Sweet spot, by Nature’s primal consecration,
  Sacred to peace and thought and calm repose,
Well in thy breast that elder generation        15
  Their place of burial chose.
 
And well, to-day, whene’er the sad procession
  Moves o’er the plain, with slow and measured tread,
Within thy silent and secure possession
  The living leave the dead.        20
 
Few are the graves, for here no populous city
  Feeds, with its myriad lives, the hungry Fates,
While hourly funerals, led by grief or pity,
  Crowd through the open gates.
 
Here Death is rarer, yet full many a token        25
  Tells of his presence, on these grassy slopes,—
The slab, the stone, the shaft, half reared and broken,
  Symbol of shattered hopes.
 
Here sleep brave men who, in the deadly quarrel,
  Fought for their country, and their life-blood poured,        30
Above whose dust she carves the deathless laurel
  Wreathing the victor’s sword.
 
And here the young cadet, in manly beauty,
  Borne from the tents which skirt those rocky banks,
Called from life’s daily drill and perilous duty        35
  To these unbroken ranks.
 
Here too the aged man, the wife, the maiden,
  Together hushed, as on His faithful breast,
Who cried, “Come hither, all ye heavy-laden,
  And I will give you rest!”        40
 
And little gravestones through the grass are gleaming,
  Sown, like the lilies, over forms as fair,
Of whom, to-day, what broken hearts are dreaming,
  Through Sabbath song and prayer.
 
Peace to the sleepers! may the bud and blossom,        45
  Spring’s early bloom and Summer’s sweet increase,
Fail not, while Nature, on her tender bosom,
  Folds them and whispers, Peace!
 
And here at last who could not rest contented?
  Beneath,—the river, with its tranquil flood;        50
Around,—the breezes of the morning, scented
  With odors from the wood;
 
Above,—the eternal hills, their shadows blending
  With morn and noon and twilight’s deepening pall;
And overhead,—the infinite heavens, attending        55
  Until the end of all!
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors