When the urns shone on the belfry,
O'er the sighing churchyard trees,
And the melancholy music
Floated faintly down the breeze,
Did there flit across your spirit
Any reveries like these?—
In the shadow of the spire,
How the human tide waves roll—
Endless toil by endless quiet!
And the bells more often toll
At the passing of life's sorrows
Than the passing of the soul.
Who can tell what hope and passion
In these churchyard spaces rest?
Swells the green grave now as gently
As once swelled their heaving breast;
Deep as love burned in their bosom,
Burns the sunset in the west.
Are the bells of twilight ringing
Marriage music as of old?
Does the bride glide to the altar
O'er the moonlight's gleam of gold?
Or is it for ghostly funerals
That a solemn knell is tolled?
Ah, how vain our deepest longings
To behold those spirits are!
Vain to strain our aching vision
To the orb which shines afar;
We can only catch the outline
And the brightness of the star.
In my heart are gravestones lying,
That will ope their portals soon;
For the ghosts rise in that churchyard
With the rising of the moon—
And as mournful is the music
In December as in June.
Albany Evening Journal. December 17, 1853: 2 col 7.