Image from University of Virginia
From the Albany Argus.
Suggested by the following paragraph, taken from the Argus of October 7
“There is a place in the Mississippi where so many vessels have been wrecked, that it is called the ‘Grave Yard.’”
A ‘Grave Yard’ in the wat’ry deep — a home beneath the wave,
For they, the mourned, the loved, the lost, the youthful and the brave!
Oh, loving hearts have broken, and eye grown dim with weeping,
For the thousand forms that lie, in that unseen ‘Grave Yard’ sleeping.
A ‘Grave Yard’ — but above the dead selection sheds no tear,
No mourner’s footsteps tread the ground, no sighs are echoed here.
Affection’s hand can never bring, at pensive evening hour,
And place o’er some reposing form, love’ purest gilt — a flower.
Nor can it rear, with pious care, the costly marble stone,
In memory of the faded form, closed eye, and silent tongue;
Ah no! the tears that fall for these, can no green grave bedew,
And memory must erect her shrine, in the warm hearts of the true.
Oh! the sea may boast its sparkling gems and its snow-white coral caves,
And the pure and precious pearl that lies, far down in its deep, blue waves;
But thou, majestic river, what wealth thy waters hide –
The heart’s most valued treasure, the bosom’s dearest pride!
One common fate, one common home, is found by youth and age;
One common resting place they share, the infant and the sage,
The same proud wave, perchance, that laid the grey-haired sire low,
Has dashed from childhood’s downy cheek, its warm, bewitching glow.
A wave, a single, crystal wave, has levelled manhood’s pride,
And frozen in its chill embraces, the life blood of the bride;
A wave has bowed the maiden’s form, and one tumultuous billow,
Has been to many a bright, young head, its last and coldest pillow.
See, bounding o’er the “Grave Yard,’ a vessel in its might,
It skims the water’s surface, like a sea-bird in its flight.
Oh many a long-lamented one those waters have in keeping –
Sail slowly o’er the hallowed spot, where the silent dead are sleeping.
It is an awful thought that the gay, the living tread
Above the wave-walled sepulchre of the calm and quiet dead!
It is a solemn thought, that should one more fast sweep by,
Far down in that dark and dread abode, those breathing forms must lie.
Sail slowly — and let every soul, that those waves on their bosom bear,
With chastened spirits lift the heart to heaven in fervent prayer,
That He who holds f— human life, in his own holy keeping,
May save them from the wat’ry waste, where the silent dead are sleeping.
Albany, Oct. 15, 1842
Wiskonsan Enquirer (Madison, Wisconsin) Dec 24, 1842