Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AT ROMEO'S TOMB, by AMELIA JOSEPHINE BURR

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AT ROMEO'S TOMB, by            
First Line: Ay, gentle stranger, here lies romeo
Last Line: Peace to thee, my son.
Subject(s): Graves; Romeo & Juliet; Tombs; Tombstones

AY, gentle stranger, here lies Romeo.
Thou art no Veronese . . . from Florence? What,
Speak they of Romeo so far away?
Tell me, my son, what do they say of him?
"The king of lovers -- and a noble heart
"Unwilling to brook life when love was gone --"
Are they not young who say it -- mates of thine?
So many words that blossom fulsome sweet
Ripen to bitter fruit as men grow old --
I would not have you think of Romeo thus.
His death was noble? Nay -- it was but young.
No friend of his? I was his nearest friend,
Even more privy to his inmost mind
Than was Mercutio's self, I dare to say,
And therefore I would have thee think of him
Thoughts that shall change only toward tenderness
As the blood cools and slackens in its race
And less of life lies in a woman's hand.
Judge not my Romeo as a man is judged. . . .
Hadst thou but seen him when he came to me!
(He knew that I would shelter him, poor child,
Though he had laid a score of Tybalts cold)
We heard Verona roaring through the streets
Louder than floods in spring. The memory
After so long, is pitiful to tears --
His heart was fluttering like the candle-flame
Before the altar, on a windy day.
Romeo a man? No, no -- he was a child,
A slender, scarcely-budded slip of spring,
The calyx-bursting promise of a rose
Flung to the foamy rage of Adige
And beaten down the rapids to its doom --
A blade untempered, broken ere its time
In the great battle -- oh, a child, a child
Caught in the millstones that grind up men's hearts
To be the bread of centuries unborn.
Dreaming, he was enamoured of a dream,
And from the drowsy wonder of his eyes
Rubbed life like sleep away; so burst on him
The blinding day of immortality. . . .
On him, who was not yet awake to earth!
How like a child astray he must have stared
Upon the pitying angels!
Ay, call her woman if thou wilt, for she
Can bear thy judgment; but for Romeo --
Pray thou for him to-night as for a child.
My name? 'Tis Laurence.
Peace to thee, my son.

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