LEAVE me a little while alone, Here at his grave that still is strown With crumbling flower and wreath; The laughing rivulet leaps and falls, The thrush exults, the cuckoo calls, And he lies hushâ€™d beneath.
With myrtle cross and crown of rose, And every lowlier flower that blows, His new-made couch is dressâ€™d; Primrose and cowslip, hyacinth wild, Gatherâ€™d by monarch, peasant, child, A nationâ€™s grief attest.
I stood not with the mournful crowd That hither came when round his shroud Pious farewells were said. In the famâ€™d city that he savâ€™d, By minaret crownâ€™d, by billow lavâ€™d, I heard that he was dead.
Now oâ€™er his tomb at last I bend, No greeting get, no greeting tend, Who never came before Unto his presence, but I took, From word or gesture, tone or look, Some wisdom from his door.
And must I now unanswerâ€™d wait, And, though a suppliant at the gate, No sound my ears rejoice? Listen! Yes, even as I stand, I feel the pressure of his hand, The comfort of his voice.
How poor were Fame, did grief confess That death can make a great life less, Or end the help it gave! Our wreaths may fade, our flowers may wane, But his well-ripenâ€™d deeds remain, Untouchâ€™d, above his grave.
Let this, too, soothe our widowâ€™d minds; Silenced are the opprobrious winds Wheneâ€™er the sun goes down; And free henceforth from noonday noise, He at a tranquil height enjoys The starlight of renown.
Thus hence we something more may take Than sterile grief, than formless ache, Or vainly utterâ€™d vow; Death hath bestowâ€™d what life withheld And he round whom detraction swellâ€™d Hath peace with honor now.
The open jeer, the covert taunt, The falsehood coinâ€™d in factious haunt, These loving gifts reprove. They never were but thwarted sound Of ebbing waves that bluster round A rock that will not move.
And now the idle roar rolls off, Hushâ€™d is the gibe and shamâ€™d the scoff, Repressâ€™d the envious gird; Since death, the looking-glass of life, Clearâ€™d of the misty breath of strife, Reflects his face unblurrâ€™d.
From callow youth to mellow age, Men turn the leaf and scan the page, And note, with smart of loss, How wit to wisdom did mature, How duty burnâ€™d ambition pure, And purged away the dross.
Youth is self-love; our manhood lends Its heart to pleasure, mistress, friends, So that when age steals nigh, How few find any worthier aim Than to protract a flickering flame, Whose oil hath long run dry!
But he, unwitting youth once flown, With Englandâ€™s greatness linkâ€™d his own, And, steadfast to that part, Held praise and blame but fitful sound, And in the love of country found Full solace for his heart.
Now in an English grave he lies: With flowers that tell of English skies And mind of English air, A grateful sovereign decks his bed, And hither long with pilgrim tread Will English feet repair.
Yet not beside his grave alone We seek the glance, the touch, the tone; His home is nigh,â€”but there, See from the hearth his figure fled, The pen unraisâ€™d, the page unread, Untenanted the chair!
Vainly the beechen boughs have made A fresh green canopy of shade, Vainly the peacocks stray; While Carlo, with despondent gait, Wonders how long affairs of State Will keep his lord away.
Here most we miss the guide, the friend; Back to the churchyard let me wend, And, by the posied mound, Lingering where late stood worthier feet, Wish that some voice, more strong, more sweet, A loftier dirge would sound.
At least I bring not tardy flowers: Votive to him lifeâ€™s budding powers, Such as they were, I gaveâ€” He not rejecting, so I may Perhaps these poor faint spices lay, Unchidden, on his grave!