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.


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.


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.


‘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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


Rome, Georgia

July 4, 1881

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