Longfellow’s tomb

Life (and death) brought me back to Mount Auburn Cemetery the other day, so I can now include a personal photo of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s tomb, in place of the one I included in this post:

2015-09-17 12.15.18

(A sprinkler is at work in front of the tomb.)

As a special bonus, here is the more modest gravestone of the nineteenth-century American historian Francis Parkman, buried right down the street from Longfellow:

parkman

Parkman’s uncle George was the victim in a celebrated murder case chronicled in the documentary Murder at Harvard.

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Happy belated birthday to William Blake

I seemed to have missed it by a day.  Here is his great poem “London”.  Did anyone ever write a better phrase than “mind-forg’d manacles”?  And did any two words ever pack more of a punch than “marriage-hearse”?

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot’s curse
Blasts the new-born infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.