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1864

THE CONQUEROR'S GRAVE

by William Cullen Bryant

THE CONQUEROR'S GRAVE -

Within this lowly grave a Conqueror lies

And yet the monument proclaims it not

Nor round the sleeper's name hath chisel wrought

The emblems of a fame that never dies-

Ivy and amaranthin a graceful sheaf

Twined with the laurel's fairimperial leaf.

A simple name alone

To the great world unknown

Is graven hereand wild-flowersrising round

Meek meadow-sweet and violets of the ground

Lean lovingly against the humble stone. -

Herein the quiet earththey laid apart

No man of iron mould and bloody hands

Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands

The passions that consumed his restless heart;

But one of tender spirit and delicate frame

Gentlestin mien and mind

Of gentle womankind

Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame:

One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made

Its hauntlike flowers by sunny brooks in May

Yetat the thought of others' paina shade

Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away. -

Nor deem that when the hand that moulders here

Was raised in menacerealms were chilled with fear

And armies mustered at the signas when

Clouds rise on clouds before the rain East-

Gray captains leading bands of veteran men

And fiery youths to be the vulture's feast.

Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave

The victory to her who fills this grave:

Alone her task was wrought

Alone the battle fought;

Through that long strike her constant hope was staid

On God alonenor looked for other aid. -

She met the hosts of Sorrow with a look

That altered not beneath the frown they wore

And soon the lowering brood were tamedand took

Meeklyher gentle ruleand frowned no more.

Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath

And calmly broke in twain

The fiery shafts of pain

And rent the nets of passion from her path.

By that victorious hand despair was slain.

With love she vanquished hate and overcame

Evil with goodin her Great Master's name. -

Her glory is not of this shadowy state.

Glory that with the fleeting season dies;

But when she entered at the sapphire gate

What joy was radiant in celestial eyes!

How heaven's bright depths with sounding welcomes rung

And flowers of heaven by shining hands were flung!

And He wholong before

Painscornand sorrow bore

The Mighty Suffererwith aspect sweet

Smiled on the timid stranger from his seat;

He who returninggloriousfrom the grave

Dragged Deathdisarmedin chainsa crouching slave. -

Seeas I linger herethe sun grows low;

Cool airs are murmuring that the night is near.

Ohgentle sleeperfrom thy grave I go

Consoled though sadin hope and yet in fear.

Brief is the timeI know

The warfare scarce begun;

Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won.

Still flows the fount whose waters strengthened thee

The victors' names are yet too few to fill

Heaven's mighty roll; the glorious armory

That ministered to theeis open still. - -

THE END




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