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In Memoriam

Emma Lazarus 1849 (New York City) – 1887 (New York City)



O FRIEND who passed away while flowers died,
Now that the land bursts into bloom again,
With vivid blossoms o'er the landscape wide,
Purple and white 'mongst, grasses golden-eyed,
In beauteous resurrection o'er the plain,—

My thoughts revert to thee, who liest still,
Under the pulsing, stirring, glowing earth;
Not rising with the lilac on the hill,
Not waking with the sunny daffodil,
Living and breathing with no second birth.

In these sweet days I dream I see thy grave,
A mockery of death, alive with flowers.
The delicate sprays and tender grasses wave,
Blue violets and the hardy crocus brave,
Wooed back to life by sunshine, dew, and showers.

I cannot deem that thou art lying there,
Asleep through all these fervent days of spring;
For I perceive thy spirit in the air,
Around me ever in my dream and prayer,
Enskied and hallowed by thy suffering.

When thou didst walk upon the earth before,
My trivial words and deeds alone were thine;
But now my holiest dreams are evermore
Blended with thoughts of thee, on that far shore,
Where thy pale, girlish face has grown divine.

Through the dark shadows thou must go alone;
And lo! thou hast a dauntless bravery,
A most majestic resignation shown;
A valiant patience, a faith not overthrown
By the dread terror of uncertainty.

The day had fled, from thee for evermore,
Thy soul was ebbing with the waning light,
And still thou asked, aweary and heartsore,
The same pathetic question o'er and o'er,—
'O, I am tired! will I go to-night?'

Aye, thou didst go,— and where? Thou knowest now.
Nature is innocent as well as fair;
Lillies, as well as amaranth, wreathe her brow.
She hath thy soul; because I cannot know
Where it may be, I feel it everywhere.

And thus the spring hath brought me flowers of worth.
O mourners, cease to weep o'er empty graves!
Open them all! no dead come trooping forth,
To fill with ghastly hosts the living earth;
Only the flowers bloom, the green grass waves.

Those ye laid low with solemn rites and tears,
Elude you; while ye weep, they all have flown.
And so I lay aside my doubts and fears;
My friend in day-dreams and at night appears,
And hovers near when I am most alone.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus was a poet born in New York City. more…

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