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Thomas Bailey Aldrich

(November 11, 1836 – March 19, 1907 / Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

At Stratford-Upon-Avon


Thus spake his dust (so seemed it as I read
The words): Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare
(Poor ghost!) To digg the dust enclosèd heare --
Then came the malediction on the head
Of whoso dare disturb the sacred dead.
Outside the mavis whistled strong and clear,
The winding Avon murmured in its bed,
But in the solemn Stratford church the air
Was chill and dank, and on the foot-worn tomb
The evening shadows deepened momently.
Then a great awe fell on me, standing there,
As if some speechless presence in the gloom
Was hovering, and fain would speak with me.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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