Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
November 1
When I beneath the Cold, Red Earth Am Sleeping
By William Motherwell (1797–1835)
 
          William Motherwell, a Scottish poet and antiquary, who died Nov. 1, 1835.

WHEN I beneath the cold, red earth am sleeping,
        Life’s fever o’er,
Will there for me be any bright eye weeping
        That I’m no more?
Will there be any heart still memory keeping        5
        Of heretofore?
 
When the great winds, through leafless forests rushing,
        Like full hearts break—
When the swoll’n streams, o’er crag and gully gushing,
        Sad music make—        10
Will there be one, whose heart Despair is crushing,
        Morn for my sake?
 
When the bright sun upon that spot is shining
        With purest ray,
And the small flowers, their buds and blossoms twining,        15
        Burst through that clay—
Will there be one still on that spot repining
        Lost hopes all day?
 
When the Night shadows, with the ample sweeping
        Of her dark pall,        20
The world and all its manifold creation sleeping—
        The great and small—
Will there be one, even at that dread hour, weeping,
        For me—for all?
 
When no star twinkles with its eye of glory        25
        On that low mound,
And wintry storms have with their ruins hoary
        Its loneness crowned,
Will there be then one versed in Misery’s story
        Pacing it round?        30
 
It may be so—but this is selfish sorrow
        To ask such meed—
A weakness and a wickedness, to borrow
        From hearts that bleed
The wailings of to-day, for what to-morrow        35
        Shall never need.
 
Lay me then gently in my narrow dwelling,
        Thou gentle heart!
And, though thy bosom should with grief be swelling,
        Let no tear start;        40
It were in vain—for Time hath long been knelling—
        Sad one, depart!
 
 
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