Margaret Junkin Preston

A Grave In Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond (J.R.T.)

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I read the marble-lettered name,
And half in bitterness I said,
"As Dante from Ravenna came,
Our poet came from exile-dead."
And yet, had it been asked of him
Where he would rather lay his head,
This spot he would have chosen. Dim
The city's hum drifts o'er his grave,
And green above the hollies wave
Their jagged leaves, as when a boy,
On blissful summer afternoons,
He came to sing the birds his runes,
And tell the river of his joy.

Who dreams that in his wanderings wide
By stern misfortunes tossed and driven,
His soul's electric strands were riven
From home and country? Let betide
What might, what would, his boast, his pride,
Was in his stricken mother-land,
That could but bless and bid him go,
Because no crust was in her hand
To stay her children's need. We know
The mystic cable sank too deep
For surface storm or stress to strain,
Or from his answering heart to keep
The spark from flashing back again.

Think of the thousand mellow rhymes,
The pure idyllic passion-flowers,
Wherewith, in far-gone, happier times,
He garlanded this South of ours.
Provencal-like, he wandered long,
And sang at many a stranger's board,
The tenderest pathos through his song.
We owe the poet praise and tears,
Whose ringing ballad sends the brave,
Bold Stuart riding down the years.
What have we given him? Just a grave!

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Margaret Junkin Preston