Threnody

A poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

I

Upon your hearse this flower I lay.
Brief be your sleep! You shall be known
When lesser men have had their day:
Fame blossoms where true seed is sown,
Or soon or late, let Time wrong what it may.


II

Unvext by any dream of fame,
You smiled, and bade the world pass by:
But I--I turned, and saw a name
Shaping itself against the sky--
White star that rose amid the battle's flame!


III

Brief be your sleep, for I would see
Your laurels--ah, how trivial now
To him must earthly laurel be
Who wears the amaranth on his brow!
How vain the voices of mortality!

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