Gazed, sighed, and turned away; then sadly strayed
To the cold, dreamless churchyard, where were laid
His parents, side by side. A change had come
O’er all that he had loved: his home was dumb,
And through the vale no accent met his ear
That he was wont in early days to hear;
While childhood’s scenes fell dimly on his view,
As a dull picture of a spot we knew,
Where we but cold and lifeless forms can trace.
But no bold truth, nor one familiar face.
Night sat upon the graves, like gloom to gloom,
As silent treading o’er each lowly tomb,
Thoughtful and sad, he lonely strove to trace,
Amidst the graves, his father’s resting-place.
And well the spot he knew; yea, it alone
Was all now left that he might call his own
Of all that was his kindred’s; and although
He looked for no proud monument to show
The tomb he sought, yet mem’ry marked the spot
Where slept his ancestors; and had it not,
He deemed—he felt—that if his feet but trode
Upon his parents’ dust, the voice of God,
As it of old flashed through a prophet’s breast,
Would in his bosom whisper, “Here they rest!”
’Twas an Enthusiast’s thought;—but, oh! to tread,
With darkness round us, ’midst the voiceless dead,
With not an eye but Heaven’s upon our face—
At such a moment, and in such a place,
Seeking the dead we love—who would not feel.
Yea, and believe as he did then, and kneel
On friend or father’s grave, and kiss the sod
As in the presence of our father’s God!
He reached the spot; he startled—trembled—wept;
And through his bosom wildest feelings swept.
He sought a nameless grave, but o’er the place
Where slept the generations of his race,
A marble pillar rose. “Oh Heaven!” he cried,
“Has avaricious Ruin’s hand denied
The parents of my heart a grave with those
Of their own kindred?—have their ruthless foes
Grasped this last, sacred spot we called our own?
If but a weed upon that grave had grown,
I would have honoured it!—have called it brother!
Even for my father’s sake, and thine, my mother!
But that cold marble freezes up my heart,
And seems to tell me that I have no part
With its proud dead; while through the veil of night
The name it bears yet mocks my anxious sight.”
Thus cried he bitterly; then, trembling, placed
His finger on the marble, while he traced
Its letters one by one, and o’er and o’er;—
Grew blind with eagerness, and shook the more,
As with each touch, the feeling o’er him came—
The unseen letters formed his father’s name!