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Short poem

Herman Melville (1819-1891)


              1To have known him, to have loved him
              2    After loneness long;
              3And then to be estranged in life,
              4    And neither in the wrong;
              5And now for death to set his seal --
              6    Ease me, a little ease, my song!
              7By wintry hills his hermit-mound
              8    The sheeted snow-drifts drape,
              9And houseless there the snow-bird flits
            10    Beneath the fir-trees' crape:
            11Glazed now with ice the cloistral vine
            12    That hid the shyest grape.


1] monody: dirge him: this might be Nathaniel Hawthorne, or possibly Melville's son Malcolm.

10] crape: mourning band made of thin worsted cloth.

12] A line found in Melville's manuscript copy, altered from "Along thy dense stolidity of walls" in the printed edition.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (Chicago: Packard, 1947): 228-29. PS 2382 V5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1891
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/6/2

Rhyme: abcbdbefgf

Other poems by Herman Melville