Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Ballads and Other Poems
God’s-Acre
 
          “I would like to be burned, not buried,” Mr. Longfellow notes, and in a letter to Mr. Ward, who had the poem in his hands for publication, he writes: “I here add a concluding stanza for God’s-Acre, which I think improves the piece and rounds it off more perfectly than before,—the thought no longer resting on the cold furrow, but on the waving harvest beyond:—
        Green gate of Paradise! let in the sun!
  Unclose thy portals, that we may behold
Those fields elysian, where bright rivers run,
  And waving harvests bend like seas of gold.
The poem was published with this additional stanza in The Democratic Review for December, 1841, but when it came to be added to the volume the stanza was dropped.

I LIKE that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
  The burial-ground God’s-Acre! It is just;
It consecrates each grave within its walls,
  And breathes a benison o’er the sleeping dust.
 
God’s-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts        5
  Comfort to those who in the grave have sown
The seed that they had garnered in their hearts,
  Their bread of life, alas! no more their own.
 
Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
  In the sure faith, that we shall rise again        10
At the great harvest, when the archangel’s blast
  Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
 
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom,
  In the fair gardens of that second birth;
And each bright blossom mingle its perfume        15
  With that of flowers, which never bloomed on earth.
 
With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the sod,
  And spread the furrow for the seed we sow;
This is the field and Acre of our God,
  This is the place where human harvests grow.        20
 
 
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