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(1770-1850 / Cumberland / England)

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A Gravestone Upon The Floor In The Cloisters Of Worcester Cathedral

'MISERRIMUS,' and neither name nor date,
Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone;
Nought but that word assigned to the unknown,
That solitary word--to separate
From all, and cast a cloud around the fate
Of him who lies beneath. Most wretched one,
'Who' chose his epitaph?--Himself alone
Could thus have dared the grave to agitate,
And claim, among the dead, this awful crown;
Nor doubt that He marked also for his own
Close to these cloistral steps a burial-place,
That every foot might fall with heavier tread,
Trampling upon his vileness. Stranger, pass
Softly!--To save the contrite, Jesus bled.

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010


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  • Brian Purdy (1/23/2012 8:30:00 PM)

    This is a short and masterful poem, full of feeling, meet in form to its subject, on a most serious theme. No lover of Wordsworth's usual over-wordy exhalations on gardens, flowers, rustic shepherdesses etc., yet this one speaks clearly and eloquently to more than my ears alone. I won't soon forget it.

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