Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
 
Humorous Poems: II. Miscellaneous
The Grave-Yard
James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
 
From “A Fable for Critics”

LET us glance for a moment, ’t is well worth the pains,
And note what an average grave-yard contains;
There lie levellers levelled, duns done up themselves,
There are booksellers finally laid on their shelves,
Horizontally there lie upright politicians,        5
Dose-a-dose with their patients sleep faultless physicians,
There are slave-drivers quietly whipt underground,
There bookbinders, done up in boards, are fast bound,
There card-players wait till the last trump be played,
There all the choice spirits get finally laid,        10
There the babe that ’s unborn is supplied with a berth,
There men without legs get their six feet of earth,
There lawyers repose, each wrapt up in his case,
There seekers of office are sure of a place,
There defendant and plaintiff get equally cast,        15
There shoemakers quietly stick to the last,
There brokers at length become silent as stocks,
There stage-drivers sleep without quitting their box,
And so forth and so forth and so forth and so on,
With this kind of stuff one might endlessly go on;        20
To come to the point, I may safely assert you
Will find in each yard every cardinal virtue;
(And at this just conclusion will surely arrive,
That the goodness of earth is more dead than alive).
 
 
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