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SCENES IN LONDON: 4. THE CITY CHURCHYARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I pray thee lay me not to rest
Last Line: Give loveliness to death.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Churchyards; Funerals; London; Burials

I PRAY thee lay me not to rest
Among these mouldering bones;
Too heavily the earth is prest
By all these crowded stones.

Life is too gay -- life is too near --
With all its pomp and toil;
I pray thee do not lay me here,
In such a world-struck soil.

The ceaseless roll of wheels would wake
The slumbers of the dead;
I cannot bear for life to make
Its pathway o'er my head.

The flags around are cold and drear,
They stand apart, alone;
And no one ever pauses here,
To sorrow for the gone.

No: lay me in the far green fields
The summer sunshine cheers;
And where the early wild flower yields
The tribute of its tears.

Where shadows the sepulchral yew,
Where droops the willow tree,
Where the long grass is filled with dew --
Oh! make such grave for me!

And passers-by, at evening's close,
Will pause beside the grave,
And moralize o'er the repose
They fear, and yet they crave.

Perhaps some kindly hand may bring
Its offering to the tomb;
As say, As fades the rose in spring,
So fadeth human bloom.

But here there is no kindly thought
To soothe, and to relieve;
No fancies and no flowers are brought,
That soften while they grieve.

Here Poesy and Love come not --
It is a world of stone;
The grave is bought -- is closed -- forgot!
And then life hurries on.

Sorrow and beauty -- nature -- love --
Redeem man's common breath;
Ah! let them shed the grave above --
Give loveliness to death.

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