John Kenyon

(1784-1856 / Jamaica)

Song Of The Manes - Poem by John Kenyon

Come, dance we now in friendly band;
The Manes twinkling Hesperus calls;
Cynthia through heaven a trembling light
Shoots from her silver horns.
None, blushing for his own poor grave,
Craves—here—another's lordlier tomb;
All equalized, at last, by Death,
Who mocks our human pride.
Yet we too have our stars, though not
Lovely as earth's; our zephyrs we,
If scarce like spring's; some lighter airs,
And many a cypress grove.

Manes, belov'd! whose debt is paid,
Yet, as we dance, still scatter flowers,
Though of dim hue; and lilies shed,
If dusky—grateful still.
How apt our feet! This springy turf
No plod of heavy business knows;
As deftly, weightless, bodiless,
We wingèd shadows play!
Thrice sinks our song to silence down;
Thrice turn we to the Elysian pole;
And thrice athwart the waste of night
Bid our wan torches gleam.
Thou who shalt see, forbear to blame!
Songs shalt thou chaunt, ere long, like ours;
Like thee—were we; like us—be thou;
So follow—and farewell!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010



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