SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE
Of human life until existence fades
Into death’s darkness. Thou wilt sing and soar
Through the thick woods and shadow-checkered glades,
While pain and sorrow cast no dimness o’er
The brilliance of thy heart; but I must wear,
As now, my garments of regret and care,
As penitents of old their galling sackcloth wore.
Yet, why complain? What though fond hopes deferred
Have overshadowed Life's green paths with gloom?
Content’s soft music is not all unheard:
There is a voice sweeter than thine, sweet bird,
To welcome me, within my humble home;
There is an eye, with love’s devotion bright,
The darkness of existence to illume.
Then why complain? When Death shall cast his blight
Over the spirit, my cold bones shall rest
Beneath these trees; and from thy swelling breast,
Over them pour thy song, like a rich flood of light.
[Philip Pendleton Cooke was born in Martinsburg, Virginia, in 1816. After graduating from Princeton he began the practice of law with his father, but spent most of his time in his two delights—hunting and literary pursuits. He was a man with lyrical talent who failed of full development through failure to take his poetic gift seriously, habits of procrastination, and frail health. He died in 1850.]
I loved thee long and dearly,
My life's bright dream, and early,
Hath come again;