Lonely and silent and calm it lies
'Neath rosy dawn or midnight skies;
So densely peopled, yet so still,
The murmuring voice of mountain rill,
The plaint the wind 'mid branches wakes,
Alone the solemn silence breaks.
Whatever changes the seasons bring, -
The birds, the buds of joyous spring,
The glories that come with the falling year
The snows and storms of winter drear, -
Are all unmarked in this lone spot,
Its shrouded inmates feel them not.
Thoughts full of import, earnest and deep,
Must the feeling heart in their spirit steep,
Here, where Death's footprints meet the sight:
The long chill rows of tombstones white,
The graves so thickly, widely spread,
Within this city of the Dead.
Say, who could tell what aching sighs,
What tears from heavy, grief-dimmed eyes,
Have here been shed in silent woe,
Mourning the cold, still form below;
Or o'er past harshness, coldness, hate,
Grieving, alas! too late - too late!
Oh, man, vain dreamer of this life,
Seeking 'mid restless toil and strife
For wealth, for happiness, for fame,
Thirsting to make thyself a name,
See, unto what thy course doth tend,
Of all thy toils - there is the end.
Woman, of grace or beauty proud,
Seeking alone gay fashion's crowd, -
Thine aim, admiring looks to win,
E'en at the price of folly or sin,
That beauty now to thee so dear,
Would'st thou know its fate? Look around thee, here.
But not alone such lessons stern
May we within the grave-yard learn:
'Tis here the servant wise and good,
Who loyal to his trust hath stood,
Will joyously at length lay down
The heavy cross to receive the crown.
And hope, sweet messenger of God,
Poised lightly 'bove the charnel sod,
With upturned brow and radiant eyes,
Pointing unto the distant skies,
Whispers: "Oh, weary child of care,
Look up! thy heavenly home is there!"