Flowers In The Cemetery

By Hannah Flagg Gould

Peace keeps the place where we spring up and bloom.
Kind, gentle angels hover round, to spread
Our tender leaves, and bow us by the tomb
To pour our freshest odors o’er the dead.
Soft, silent air supplies our vital breath.
It wafts no sound of tumult, mirth, or strife,
Where, for the mourners, in the land of Death,
Beneath his throne we open into life.
Praise to our Maker is the holy part
Assigned to us; and, while his power we show,
With soothing skill to reach the stricken heart,
Awhile to lull the throbbing pulse of woe.
We to the eye, that on our native sod
Retires unseen to shed the dew of grief,
Attest the presence of a perfect God,
Whose glory shines on every opening leaf.
Who then our beauty can behold, nor feel
Something, not sadness, but to joy allied,
Upon the wounded bosom sweetly steal,
Like balm by spirit-ministers applied?
Tell us, ye sad ones, if it be not thus;
Do ye not own this soothing art is ours,
When ye come out to breathe your sighs to us,
And count your sorrows to your cherished flowers?
Here do ye find us steady to our trust,
As sentinels, who stand to guard the dead.
Each has her charge to watch the sacred dust,
Of some one sleeping in the dreamless bed.
Well is our high and solemn office done.
Since we were planted, not a foot has crossed
A spot that we have pointed out as one
Where rests a friend, that ye have loved and lost.
Night falls around us, like a mourner’s veil;
But, though our beauties in the dimness fade,
Still does the pure, free essence we exhale
Ascend and penetrate the deepest shade.
If thus the better part of those you weep,
From death and darkness, rose to life and light;
Then lift your hearts from all that earth could keep
To that blest world where you may re-unite.
Such is the part that we, the humble Flowers,
Perform; and such the solace we would give
To man, who, while we bloom our few short hours,
Has yet a whole eternity to live!

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