Fordham, Mary Weston
Magnolia! "Pale city of the dead,"
Adown thy gravelled walks I tread,
Thy marble pillars looming high,
Thy polished shafts around me lie.45With soft, mild rays, the winter sun
Thy tortuous pathways doth illume,
The weeping-willow droops its head,
To crown the "City of the Dead."
On every side death's tracks I see,
His footsteps grim encompass me,
The high-born here, the lowly there,
The proud man there, the humble here.
The rich has left his golden hoard,
No more he sits at festive board,
He could not bribe relentless death,
With all his garnered stores of wealth.
Here lies a maiden spotless fair,
Whose claim on life for many a year
Seemed sure. But the grim Reaper smiled,
And bending, claimed her for his child.
So lovingly they made her bed.
And tenderly these garlands spread,
Bright emblems of a stricken flower,
Now blooming in a sunnier bower.
And here an infant's grave I see,
Ere sin could stain its purity,
It plumed its wings and upward soared,
To live forever with its God.
Though fair the earth, it would not stay,
Much fairer still the land away,
Restrain me not, for I would go
Where crystal fountains endless flow.
With slow, sad steps I press me on
To a majestic tower of stone,
That tells me they who sleep around
Had for their country's weal laid down
Their lives. Ah! many a widowed heart
Hath bent and broke with sorrow's dart,
For him who now beneath the sod,
Yielded his spirit to his God.
And many a youth with trappings gay,
'Mid martial music liveliest, lay,
No more in life returned to bless
Their loved ones with a fond caress,
But laid them down to their last sleep
In stranger land. Now angels keep
A loving vigil o'er each grave,
And bending branches o'er them wave.
City of Shadows! fondly keep
The loved who in thy bosom sleep,
Shielded from every earthly care,
They rest secure and free from fear.
Let grasses green and flow'rets bright,
Always illume thy paths with light,
Till from the heavens loud and clear,
Resounds the invitation dear,
"Come up and meet me in the air,