Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
V. Death and Bereavement
Sleepy Hollow
William Ellery Channing (1818–1901)
 
NO abbey’s gloom, nor dark cathedral stoops,
  No winding torches paint the midnight air;
Here the green pines delight, the aspen droops
  Along the modest pathways, and those fair
Pale asters of the season spread their plumes        5
  Around this field, fit garden for our tombs.
 
And shalt thou pause to hear some funeral bell
  Slow stealing o’er thy heart in this calm place,
Not with a throb of pain, a feverish knell,
  But in its kind and supplicating grace,        10
It says, Go, pilgrim, on thy march, be more
  Friend to the friendless than thou wast before;
 
Learn from the loved one’s rest serenity:
  To-morrow that soft bell for thee shall sound,
And thou repose beneath the whispering tree,        15
  One tribute more to this submissive ground;—
Prison thy soul from malice, bar out pride,
  Nor these pale flowers nor this still field deride:
 
Rather to those ascents of being turn,
  Where a ne’er-setting sun illumes the year        20
Eternal, and the incessant watch-fires burn
  Of unspent holiness and goodness clear,—
Forget man’s littleness, deserve the best,
  God’s mercy in thy thought and life confest.
 
 
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