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A simple muster-roll of death,

Of pomp and romance shorn, The dry, old names that common breath

Has cheapened and outworn.

Yet pause by one low mound, and part

The wild vines o'er it laced, And read the words by rustic art

Upon its headstone traced.

Haply yon white-haired villager

Of fourscore years can say
What means the noble name of her

Who sleeps with common clay.

An exile from the Gascon land

Found refuge here and rest, And loved, of all the village band,

Its fairest and its best.

He knelt with her on Sabbath morn,

He worshipped through her eyes, And on the pride that doubts and scorns

Stole in her faith's surprise.

Her simple daily life he saw

By homeliest duties tried,
In all things by an untaught law

Of fitness justified.

For her his rank aside he laid ;

He took the hue and tone
Of lowly life and toil, and made

Her simple ways his own.

Yet still, in gay and careless ease,

To harvest-field or dance
He brought the gentle courtesies,

The nameless grace of France.

And she who taught him love not less

From him she loved in turn Caught in her sweet unconsciousness

What love is quick to learn.

Each grew to each in pleased accord,

Nor knew the gazing town
If she looked upward to her lord

Or he to her looked down.


How sweet, when summer's day was o'er,

His violin's mirth and wail, The walk on pleasant Newbury's shore,

The river's moonlit sail !

Ah ! life is brief, though love be long;

The altar and the bier,
The burial hymn and bridal song,

Were both in one short year!

Her rest is quiet on the hill,

Beneath the locust's bloom ; Far off her lover sleeps as still

Within his scutcheoned tomb.

The Gascon lord, the village maid,

In death still clasp their hands ; The love that levels rank and grade

Unites their severed lands.

What matter whose the hillside grave,

Or whose the blazoned stone ? Forever to her western wave

Shall whisper blue Garonne !

O Love ! — so hallowing every soil

That gives thy sweet flower room, Wherever, nursed by ease or toil,

The human heart takes bloom !

Plant of lost Eden, from the sod

Of sinful earth unriven,
White blossom of the trees of God

Dropped down to us from heaven! —

This tangled waste of mound and stone

Is holy for thy sake ;
A sweetness which is all thy own

Breathes out from fern and brake.

And while ancestral pride shall twine

The Gascon's tomb with flowers, Fall sweetly here, O song of mine,

With summer's bloom and showers !

And let the lines that severed seem

Unite again in thee,
As western wave and Gallic stream

Are mingled in one sea !

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