1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John G. C. Brainard

Nathaniel Parker Willis, "Lines written on the Death of J. G. C. Brainard" Philadelphia Album 3 (14 January 1829) 260.



The turf is on thee, Brainard!
Thy human life is done;
We do not meet thy pleasant eye,
We feel that thou art gone!
'Tis hard to give thee up, so young,
With that yet joyous glance,
Like one who hath been summon'd
With a whisper from the dance.

The world thy praise hath spoken,
But that is nothing now—
It will not lift the leaden hand
That layeth on thy brow.
Oh, how it seemeth idle
To talk about the dead,
When praise availeth only
To tell us they are fled!

How can we stand above the grave,
And feel that thou art there?
The warm and breathing form we lov'd,
Shut from the blessed air?
The moving lip we stay'd to hear—
The gentle, thoughtful eye—
Left in that close, unsunn'd abode
To perish silently!

Oh plant his grave with many flowers,
And go to it sometimes,
And talk of him as if he heard,
And sing his pleasant rhymes.
It may be true that he is there
With his keen spirit-ear,
And it must be a joy to know
He's not forgotten here.