10 October 2009

Last Wish - Burial Expression for Alexander Wilson

The celebrated Wilson, the ornithologist, requested that he might be buried near some sunny spot. This wish is expressed in the following lines. The name of their author is unknown to us.

In some wild forest shade,
Under some spreading oak, or waving pine,
Or old elm, festooned with the gadding vine,
Let me be laid.
In this dim lonely grot,
No foot intrusive will disturb my dust;
But o'er me songs of the wild birds shall burst,
Cheering the spot.
But let the dewy rose,
The snow-drop and the violet, lend perfume
Above the spot where, in my grassy tomb,
I take repose.
Year after year,
Within the silver birch tree o'er me hung,
The chirping wren shall rear her callow young,
Shall build her dwelling near.
And ever at the purple dawn of day
The lark shall chant a pealing song above,
And the shrill quail shall pipe her hymn of love,
When eve grows dim and gray.
The blackbird and the thrush,
The golden oriole, shall flit around,
And waken, with a mellow gust of sound,
The forest's solemn hush.
Birds from the distant sea
Shall sometimes hither flock on snowy wings,
And soar above my dust in airy wings,
Singing in dirge to me.
June 22, 1844. Living Age volume 1, issue 6. From Chamber's Journal.

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