NO REST

In the long ago, when no man knew it,
   I dug a grave in the silent night,
And I led Love down, and there I slew it,
   And buried it out of the whole world's sight.
And I said, "Lie there, in the dark forever --
   Lie with the sods piled over your breast,
And I will go forth in the world, and never
   Suffer again with the old unrest."

But, lo! to-day, with the great sun o'er me,
   Shining down in its summer prime,
I saw in the noontide, standing before me,
   The murdered love of the olden time.
It came -- and the sore cloth wrapped and bound it --
   No flesh on its fingers, and mold on its hair.
And the damp, dank smell of the grave was around it,
   And its eyes were the eyes of a great despair.

I walk abroad, when the sun is shining,
   I cry aloud, but it will not flee.
Closer and closer its arms are twining,
   Nearer and nearer it clings to me.
Heavy the sods, but they could not crush it,
   Deep the grave, but it would not lie.
Strong is my heart, but it cannot hush it,
   It is greater than death, and it will not die.

O! mad is he, who, in vaunting fashion,
   By the night of his pride, or the force of his will,
Deems he can strip from the heart a passion,
   That is higher than heaven, and deeper than hell.
We may hush it to sleep, but it will awaken --
   It will break away from the grave's control.
There is no peace for a heart love-shaken,
   For after death, it will claim the soul.

Peterson's Magazine (January 1881): 74.

Courtesy of Linda Listmann.


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