Lines on Myrtle Hill Cemetery   Leave a comment

Above:  Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Georgia

Away from the bustling city below,

Away from the noisy street,

Away from life-tide’s turbulent flow,

I have sought this lonely retreat.

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Sure here is one place where vice and deceit

Have fled from the people forever;

No money-grabs here to lie and to cheat,

Like those just over the river.

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The streets of this city all quiet I find;

A dreadful silence is here;

The din from afar, borne hence on the wind,

Is all that falls on the ear.

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‘Tis pleasant, sometimes, with nature to meet,

When weary the heart and the head;

Separation from men and silence are sweet,

E’en tho’ they’re found with the dead.

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For even from graves, to the eye of our souls

The torches of Wisdom appear;

And Knowledge, in tombs, her beauties unfolds,

And Truth has her oracle there.

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There is but one place, and that is the grave

Where human perfection we find;

For charity there, like the ocean’s broad wave,

Obscures their faults from the mind.

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The circles of fashion, society’s grade,

No more are observed in the gloom;

And honor, and riches, and wisdom, too, fade,

So all are alike in the tomb.

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Here childhood, in frailty, and manhood, in might,

Alike are helpless and weak;

And youth’s brightest face aglow with delight,

As the care-worn, sorrow-ploughed cheek.

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The living ne’er visit this city so lone,

This city of graves and of gloom;

Save when some loved one’s spirit has flown,

His friends here seek him a tomb.

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Lest haply it be some lover’s retreat,

Whose fair one here faded may lie;

Or kindred, or friends, who sadly here meet,

Or a curious stranger as I.

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How tasteful, how fair, in her mantle of green,

Has nature enrobed Myrtle Hill!

How lovely the distant landscape is seen,

The Coosa below me–so still!

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What beauties unfold on those mountains so blue,

Entwined in a nebula wreath!

The hillocks which rise to gently to view,

And the nearer-by woodland and heath!

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And, with nature’s kind gifts, the tokens from hearts

Still warm with love for their dead;

The fruits of their care, the beauties of art,

All round are lavishly spread.

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And yet I only am here to behold,

And the transporting scene to adore;

Other eyes there are here, but lifeless and cold,

They’ll open to beauty no more.

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But sleep on, ye dead, in your darkly bright land,

The living redeemer you yet;

And fairest of all, by whose grace I now stand,

Thy worth I shall never forget.

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But life, with its hopes and pleasures, always

Like a river unceasingly flows;

And the rhymster who now o’er you tunes his weak lays,

Ere long shall join your repose.

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, SR.

Rome, Georgia

July 4, 1881

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