Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DOVECOTT MILL: 8. THE COUNTRY GRAVE-YARD, by PHOEBE CARY



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DOVECOTT MILL: 8. THE COUNTRY GRAVE-YARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: So she goes sometimes past dovecote mill
Last Line: The charm and the glory of life's young years!
Subject(s): Cemeteries; Graveyards


So she goes sometimes past Dovecote Mill,
To the place of humble graves on the hill,
Where the mother rests in the shadows still.

Here, sleeping well as the sons of fame,
Lie youth and maiden, sire and dame,
With never a record but their name.

And some, their very names forgot,
Not even a stone to mark the spot,
Yet sleep in peace; so it matters not!

Here lieth one, who shouldered his gun,
When the news was brought from Lexington;
And laid it down, when peace was won.

Still he wore his coat of "army blue,"
Silver buckles on knee and shoe,
And sometimes even his good sword, too.

For however the world might change or gaze,
He kept his ancient dress and ways,
Nor learned the fashion of modern days.

But here he had laid aside his staff,
And you read half-worn, and guessed it half
His quaint and self-made epitaph, --

"Stoop down, my friends, and view his dust
Who turned out one among the first
To secure the rights you hold in trust.

"Support the Constitution, plain!
By being united we form the chain
That binds the tyrant o'er the main!"

Here from the good dead shut away
By a dismal paling, broken and gray,
Down in the lonesomest corner lay,

A baby, dead in its life's first spring,
And its hapless mother, a fair sad thing,
Who never wore a wedding ring!

Often the maiden's steps are led
Away to a lonely, grassy bed,
With a marble headstone at its head:

And carved there for memorial,
Half hid by the willow branches' fall,
The one word, "Mercy," that is all.

Whether her life had praise or blame,
All that was told was just the same,
She was a woman, this her name.

What beside there was naught to show,
Though always Bethy longed to know
The story of her who slept below.

What had she been ere she joined the dead; --
Was she bowed with years, or young instead;
Was she a maiden, or was she wed?

Never another footstep here
But the maiden's seemed to come a-near,
Yet flowers were blooming from year to year.

Something, whether of good or harm,
Down to the dead one, like a charm
Drew the living heart, fresh and warm;
Yet haunts more cheerful our Bethy had,
For youth loves not the things that are sad,
But turns to the hopeful and the glad.

Though somehow she has grown more shy,
More silent than in days gone by,
Whenever the tall young miller is nigh.

As they walk together, grave and slow,
No longer hand in hand they go:
Who can tell what has changed them so?

Till the sea shall cease to kiss the shore,
Till men and maidens shall be no more,
'T is the same old story, o'er and o'er.

Secret hoping, and secret fears,
Blushing and sighing, smiles and tears,
The charm and the glory of life's young years!





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