Felicia Hemans in The New Monthly Magazine Volume 20 1827/The Grave of a Poetess

For other versions of this work, see The Grave of a Poetess.

The New Monthly Magazine, Volume 20, Pages 69-70


THE GRAVE OF A POETESS.*[1]

"Ne me plaignez pas—si vous saviez combien de peines ce tombeau m'a epargnées!"


I stood beside thy lowly grave;—
    Spring-odours breathed around,
And music in the river-wave
    Pass'd with a lulling sound.

All happy things that love the sun
    In the bright air glanced by,
And a glad murmur seem'd to run
    Through the soft azure sky.

Fresh leaves were on the ivy bough
    That fringed the ruins near;
Young voices were abroad—but thou
    Their sweetness couldst not hear.

And mournful grew my heart for thee,
    Thou in whose woman's mind
The ray that brightens earth and sea,
    The light of song was shrined.

Mournful, that thou wert slumbering low,
    With a dread curtain drawn
Between thee and the golden glow
    Of this world's vernal dawn!

Parted from all the song and bloom
    Thou wouldst have loved so well,
To thee the sunshine round thy tomb
    Was but a broken spell.

The bird, the insect on the wing,
    In their bright reckless play,
Might feel the flush and life of Spring,
    —And thou wert pass'd away!

—But then, ev'n then, a nobler thought
    O'er my vain sadness came;
Th' immortal spirit woke and wrought
    Within my thrilling frame.

Surely on lovelier things, I said,
    Thou must have look'd ere now,
Than all that round our pathway shed
    Odours and hues below!


The shadows of the Tomb are here,
    Yet beautiful is Earth!
What seest thou then where no dim fear,
    No haunting dream hath birth?

Here a vain love to passing flowers
    Thou gav'st—but where thou art,
The sway is not with changeful hours,
    There love and death must part!

Thou hast left sorrow in thy song,
    A voice not loud, but deep;
The glorious bowers of Earth among,
    How often didst thou weep!

Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground
    Thy tender thoughts and high?—
—Now peace the Woman's heart hath found,
    And joy the Poet's eye!
F. H.

  1. * "Extrinsic interest has lately attached to the fine scenery of Woodstock, near Kilkenny, on account of its having been the last residence of the author of Psyche. Her grave is one of many in the church-yard of the village. The river runs smoothly by. The ruins of an ancient abbey that have been partially converted into a church, reverently throw their mantle of tender shadow over it. It is the very spot for the grave of a poetess."—Tales by the O'Hara Family.