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. - -