The Quaker Grave-Yard

FOUR straight brick walls, severely plain,
A quiet city square surround;
A level space of nameless graves,
The Quakers’ burial-ground.
In gown of gray or coat of drab
They trod the common ways of life,
With passions held in sternest leash,
And hearts that knew not strife.
To yon grim meeting-house they fared,
With thoughts as sober as their speech,
To voiceless prayer, to songless praise,
To hear the elders preach.
Through quiet lengths of days they came,
With scarce a change to this repose;
Of all life’s loveliness they took
The thorn without the rose.
But in the porch and o’er the graves
Glad rings the Southward robin’s glee;
And sparrows fill the autumn air
With merry mutiny;
While on the graves of drab and gray
The red and gold of autumn lie,
And willful Nature decks the sod
In gentlest mockery.
Weir Mitchell.