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A Year of Poetry – Day 66

Let not the roses lie
Too thickly tangled round my tomb,
Lest fleecy clouds that skim the summer sky,
Flinging their faint soft shadows, pass it by,
And know not over whom.

And let not footsteps come
Too frequent round that nook of rest;
Should I-who knoweth?-not be deaf, though dumb,
Bird’s idle pipe, or bee’s laborious hum,
Would suit me, listening, best.

And, pray you, do not hew
Words to provoke a smile or sneer;
But only carve-at least if they be true-
These simple words, or some such, and as few,
“He whom we loved lies here.”

And if you only could
Find out some quite sequestered slope
That, girt behind with undeciduous wood,
In front o’erlooks the ocean-then I should
Die with a calmer hope.

And if you will but so
This last request of mine fulfil,
I rest your debtor for the final throw
And if I can but help you where I go,
Be sure, fond friends, I will.

— Alfred Austin, A Last Request

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