Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SOLITARY TOMB, by BERNARD BARTON

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THE SOLITARY TOMB, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Not a leaf of the tree which stood near me was stirr'd
Last Line: Though at distance, in fancy dwells near it.
Alternate Author Name(s): Quaker Poet
Subject(s): Graves; Graves; Tombs; Tombstones; Tombs; Tombstones

NOT a leaf of the tree which stood near me was stirr'd,
Though a breath might have mov'd it so lightly;
Not a farewell note from a sweet singing bird,
Bade adieu to the sun setting brightly.

The sky was cloudless and calm, except
In the west where the sun was descending;
And there the rich tints of the rainbow slept,
As his beams with their beauty were blending.

And the evening star, with its ray so clear,
So tremulous, soft, and tender,
Had lit up its lamp, and shot down from its sphere
Its dewey, delightful splendour.

And I stood, all alone, on that gentle hill,
With a landscape so lovely before me;
And its spirit and tone, so serene and still
Seem'd silently gathering o'er me.

Far off was the Deben, whose briny flood
By its winding banks was sweeping;
And just at the foot of the hill where I stood,
The dead in their damp graves were sleeping.

How lonely and lovely their resting-place seem'd!
An enclosure which care could not enter:
And how sweetly the grey lights of evening gleam'd,
On the solitary tomb in its centre!

When at morn, or at eve, I have wander'd near,
And in various lights have view'd it,
With what differing forms, unto friendship dear,
Has the magic of fancy endued it.

Sometimes it has seem'd like a lonely sail,
A white spot on the emerald billow;
Sometimes like a lamb, in a low grassy vale,
Stretch'd in peace on its verdant pillow.

But no image of gloom, or of care, or strife,
Has it ever given birth to one minute;
For lamented in death, as beloved in life,
Was he, who now slumbers within it.

He was one who in youth on the stormy seas
Was a far and a fearless ranger;
Who, borne on the billow, and blown by the breeze,
Counted lightly of death or of danger.

Yet in this rude school had his heart still kept
All the freshness of gentlest feeling;
Nor in woman's warm eye has a tear ever slept,
More of softness and kindness revealing.

And here, when the bustle of youth was past,
He liv'd, and he lov'd, and he died too;
Oh! why was affection, which death could outlast,
A more lengthen'd enjoyment denied to?

But here he slumbers! and many there are
Who love that lone tomb, and revere it;
And one far off, who, like eve's dewy star,
Though at distance, in fancy dwells near it.

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