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Hilltop: A Literary Paper. Volume 1 Number 2

4 On the Choice of his Burial-Place

4 On the Choice of his Burial-Place

Ye caverns, and fountains
That from these high mountains
Here fallen so low
Softly flow:

And ye streams, forest-bordered,
That here flow disordered,
Each fair wood and shore,
Hear me call.

When heaven and time
Shall decree my decline,
And I leave the delight
Of the light,

Then let no man break
Fair marble to make
A monument high
Where I lie:

page 12

But I ask that a tree
May cast shadow for me
From the unfading wreaths
Of its leaves.

From me let the earth
Bring an ivy to birth
That shall clasp me about
And about:

My feast-day to keep
Every year, with their sheep
The shepherds shall come
Every one:

When their service is sung
And their sacrifice done,
To the isle they will speak.
Thus speak:

Thou art greatly renowned
As his burial-ground
Whose verses we hear
Far and near!

Who never did burn
Hot with envy, nor learn
To sue for rewards
From great lords!

Nor stirred sweet emotion
By any love-portion,
Or magic that old
Men told!

But from fields hereabout
Called the fair maidens out
Who stepped gaily along
To his song.

From his lyre there would sound
Such sweet harmonies round
As charmed us and this place
With their grace.

On his tomb, ever blest,
May sweet manna rest,
And breath of May evening

All around it be gay
Herbs that fade not away
And waters trembling
And murmuring.

page 13

We holding in memory
The fame of his glory
Shall honour him here
Each year.

'Tis thus will say all
As they slowly let fall
Milk and a lamb's fair
Blood there

Above me, what time
I enjoy the faiur clime
Where souls ever blest
Find rest

Never there shall be snow
Nor hail as here below,
Nor lightning's gleam
Be seen:

Nor ever shall cease
The Spring's sweet peace
And its green shall be gay

There the keen lust of things
Shall not spur earthly kings
By conquests cruel
To rule:

Men as brothers shall remain
Though in death they retain
The callings they loved
When they lived.

There, there shall I fire
To Alcaeus' angry lyre,
And Sappho sings there
Passing fair.

How he that gives ear
To the songs he may hear
Shall forever rejoice
In their voice!

When the rock in its fall
Can give torment no more,
And Tantalus ne'er again
Shall feel pain!

And the sound of the lyre
Shall allay hearts' desire,
And the spirit shall dwell
In its spell.