Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Sweden: Dalecarlia
Scene in a Dalecarlian Mine
Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)
 
“HASTE, with your torches, haste! make firelight round!”
They speed, they press,—what hath the miner found!
Relic or treasure, giant sword of old?
Gems bedded deep, rich veins of burning gold?
Not so,—the dead, the dead! An awe-struck band,        5
In silence gathering round the silent stand,
Chained by one feeling, hushing e’en their breath,
Before the thing that, in the might of death,
Fearful, yet beautiful, amidst them lay,—
A sleeper, dreaming not!—a youth with hair        10
Making a sunny gleam (how sadly fair!)
O’er his cold brow; no shadow of decay
Had touched those pale bright features, yet he wore
A mien of other days, a garb of yore.
Who could unfold that mystery? From the throng        15
A woman wildly broke; her eye was dim,
As if through many tears, through vigils long,
Through weary strainings;—all had been for him!
Those two had loved! And there he lay, the dead,
In his youth’s flower, and she, the living, stood        20
With her gray hair, whence hue and gloss had fled,
And wasted form, and cheek, whose flushing blood
Had long since ebbed,—a meeting sad and strange!
O, are not meetings in this world of change
Sadder than partings oft! She stood there, still        25
And mute and gazing, all her soul to fill
With the loved face once more,—the young, fair face,
Midst that rude cavern touched with sculpture’s grace,
By torchlight and by death; until at last
From her deep heart the spirit of the past        30
Gushed in low broken tones: “And there thou art!
And thus we meet, that loved, and did but part
As for a few brief hours!—My friend, my friend!
First love, and only one! is this the end
Of hope deferred, youth blighted! Yet thy brow        35
Still wears its own proud beauty, and thy cheek
Smiles,—how unchanged!—while I, the worn and weak
And faded,—O, thou wouldst but scorn me now,
If thou couldst look on me!—a withered leaf,
Seared, though for thy sake, by the blast of grief!        40
Better to see thee thus! For thou didst go,
Bearing my image on thy heart, I know,
Unto the dead. My Ulric! through the night
How have I called thee! With the morning light
How have I watched for thee!—wept, wandered, prayed,        45
Met the fierce mountain-tempest, undismayed,
In search of thee! Bound my worn life to one,
One torturing hope! Now let me die! ’T is gone.
Take thy betrothed!” And on his breast she fell,—
O, since their youth’s last passionate farewell,        50
How changed in all but love!—the true, the strong,
Joining in death whom life had parted long!
They had one grave,—one lonely bridal-bed,—
No friend, no kinsman, there a tear to shed!
His name had ceased; her heart outlived each tie,        55
Once more to look on that dead face—and die!
 
 
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