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Heine’s Grave
by [?]

HENRI HEINE”—- ’tis here!
That black tombstone, the name
Carved there–no more! and the smooth,
Swarded alleys, the limes
Touch’d with yellow by hot
Summer, but under them still,
In September’s bright afternoon,
Shadow, and verdure, and cool.
Trim Montmartre! the faint
Murmur of Paris outside;
Crisp everlasting-flowers,
Yellow and black, on the graves.

Half blind, palsied, in pain,
Hither to come, from the streets’
Uproar, surely not loath
Wast thou, Heine!–to lie
Quiet, to ask for closed
Shutters, and darken’d room,
And cool drinks, and an eased
Posture, and opium, no more;
Hither to come, and to sleep
Under the wings of Renown.

Ah! not little, when pain
Is most quelling, and man
Easily quell’d, and the fine
Temper of genius so soon
Thrills at each smart, is the praise,
Not to have yielded to pain!
No small boast, for a weak
Son of mankind, to the earth
Pinn’d by the thunder, to rear
His bolt-scathed front to the stars;
And, undaunted, retort
‘Gainst thick-crashing, insane,
Tyrannous tempests of bale,
Arrowy lightnings of soul.

Hark! through the alley resounds
Mocking laughter! A film
Creeps o’er the sunshine; a breeze
Ruffles the warm afternoon,
Saddens my soul with its chill.
Gibing of spirits in scorn
Shakes every leaf of the grove,
Mars the benignant repose
Of this amiable home of the dead.

Bitter spirits, ye claim
Heine?–Alas, he is yours!
Only a moment I long’d
Here in the quiet to snatch
From such mates the outworn
Poet, and steep him in calm.
Only a moment! I knew
Whose he was who is here
Buried–I knew he was yours!
Ah, I knew that I saw
Here no sepulchre built
In the laurell’d rock, o’er the blue
Naples bay, for a sweet
Tender Virgil! no tomb
On Ravenna sands, in the shade
Of Ravenna pines, for a high
Austere Dante! no grave
By the Avon side, in the bright
Stratford meadows, for thee,
Shakespeare! loveliest of souls,
Peerless in radiance, in joy.

What, then, so harsh and malign,
Heine! distils from thy life?
Poisons the peace of the grave?

I chide with thee not, that thy sharp
Upbraidings often assail’d
England, my country–for we,
Heavy and sad, for her sons,
Long since, deep in our hearts,
Echo the blame of her foes.
We, too, sigh that she flags;
We, too, say that she now–
Scarce comprehending the voice
Of her greatest, golden-mouth’d sons
Of a former age any more–
Stupidly travels her round
Of mechanic business, and lets
Slow die out of her life
Glory, and genius, and joy.

So thou arraign’st her, her foe;
So we arraign her, her sons.

Yes, we arraign her! but she,
The weary Titan, with deaf
Ears, and labour-dimm’d eyes,
Regarding neither to right
Nor left, goes passively by,
Staggering on to her goal;
Bearing on shoulders immense,
Atlantean, the load,
Wellnigh not to be borne,
Of the too vast orb of her fate.

But was it thou–I think
Surely it was!–that bard
Unnamed, who, Goethe said,
Had every other gift, but wanted love;
Love, without which the tongue
Even of angels sounds amiss?

Charm is the glory which makes
Song of the poet divine,
Love is the fountain of charm.
How without charm wilt thou draw,
Poet! the world to thy way?
Not by the lightnings of wit–
Not by the thunder of scorn!
These to the world, too, are given;
Wit it possesses, and scorn–
Charm is the poet’s alone.
Hollow and dull are the great,
And artists envious, and the mob profane.
We know all this, we know!
Cam’st thou from heaven, O child
Of light! but this to declare?
Alas, to help us forget
Such barren knowledge awhile,
God gave the poet his song!