Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXIX. The Happy Dead
The Grave of Shelley
By Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
 
LIKE burnt-out torches by a sick man’s bed
  Gaunt cypress-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
  Here doth the little night-owl make her throne,
And the slight lizard show his jewelled head.
And, where the chaliced poppies flame to red,        5
  In the still chamber of yon pyramid
  Surely some Old-World Sphinx lurks darkly hid,
Grim warder of this pleasaunce of the dead.
 
Ah! sweet indeed to rest within the womb
  Of Earth, great mother of eternal sleep,        10
But sweeter far for thee a restless tomb
  In the blue cavern of an echoing deep,
Or where the tall ships founder in the gloom
  Against the rocks of some wave-shattered steep.
 
 
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